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SnakebyteXX
11-30-2005, 05:58 PM
CASH CROP: Marijuana adds $1.5 billion to county economy

By Mike ADair/Special For The Willits News

In Mendocino County, the marijuana industry this year will contribute roughly $1.5 billion to the countys economy. Thats an estimated two-thirds of the countys legal economy, which in 2003 was about $2.3 billion.

Although marijuana is thought to be a huge part of the local economy, it is impossible to know how big it is exactly. The crop is illegal; there are no crop reports, and production and sales records are not collected and authenticated by the county.

For that reason most of the people contacted by this writer were unwilling or unable to speculate on the dollar size of it. Agriculture Commissioner Dave Bengston, Economic Development and Finance Corporation Director Madeline Holtkamp and Bank of Willits President Richard Willoughby were not able to even hazard a guess.

Sheriffs Office Sergeant Rusty Noe, commander of the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET), also declined to give an opinion.

That would be impossible to answer, said Noe. Between the illegal growing, both outdoor and indoor, and the medical marijuana, both outdoor and indoor, it would be impossible to estimate.

Third District Supervisor Hal Wagenet, however, indicated a rough estimate could be made by making a few simple, back-of-the-envelope calculations. Wagenet arrived at a working number based on the number of plants seized by COMMET, which,

according to Noe, is 144,000 marijuana plants for 2005. (Last year, he said, police seized about 92,000 plants. Plant seizures this year are up 56.5 percent over the 2004 figure.)

In calculating the size of the countys marijuana industry, The Willits News used Wagenets formula. However some of the figures were revised and our assumptions differed slightly from Wagenets.

According to District Attorney Norman Vroman, COMMET normally seizes between five and eight percent of the total crop grown in the county. We used that number instead of Wagenets 10 percent. We also thought it reasonable to include a spoilage figure of 20 percent, since nothing in agriculture is perfect.

The only unknown in this equation is plant yield. Traditionally, Mendocino County law enforcement has estimated plant production at one pound of pot per plant. But according to grower Dionysius Greenbud--not his real name--the average dope plant yields about half a pound of grass.Greenbud cautioned, however, that number too is a rough estimate.

I think an estimate of a pound per plant is high, he said. I usually get around a quarter pound a plant. But I was talking to a friend of mine who told me that he has these huge monster plants that give him about eight pounds a plant. So maybe a half a pound a plant is a little light.

Former Third District Supervisor John Pinches agreed that an estimate of a pound of marketable marijuana per pot plant may be a little high. We decided to use the half a pound per plant figure, while admitting that our numbers are rough.

The last element in the equation is the dollar value of the marijuana. According to Greenbud, the wholesale price of marijuana has been plummeting in recent years.

In 1995, the wholesale price was $5000 a pound, Greenbud said. By 1999, it was $3500 a pound. Last year, in Willits it was down to $2500 a pound. The signs are showing that it is going to be less this year. It is looking like it might be $2200 a pound.

Assuming a COMMET seizure rate of 8 percent, 1.8 million marijuana plants were grown in this county this year. Twenty percent were lost to spoilage, and eight percent were grabbed by law enforcement. That leaves 1,324,800 pot plants which produced an average of half a pound of pot per plant, yielding 662,400 pounds of cannibis. Assuming a wholesale price of $2200 per pound, this years harvest should yield a profit of $1.5 billion. A higher estimate would be reasonable if one assumes that some of crop is sold for a higher retail price, or if one assumes a higher yield than half a pound per plant, or both.

By comparison, in 2004, raw timber brought an income of $66.6 million to timber producers and wine grapes brought in $60.1 million to grape growers. Marijuana, therefore, is at least 12 times larger than wine grapes and timber together.

Richard Willoughby said that he did not know to what extent the marijuana economy penetrated the legal economy. He said growers were wary of depositing their money in local banks, because federal law requires banks file cash transaction reports for every deposit over $10,000. He also said that, based on the financial records of the three Willits banks (Bank of Willits, North Valley Bank and Washington Mutual) there was only about $125 million on deposit between the three institutions

If you assume a marijuana economy of billions of dollars a year, to have $125 million on deposit isn't very much, he said.

web page (http://www.willitsnews.com/Stories/0,1413,253~27831~3143651,00.html)

Sid_Vicious
12-01-2005, 06:47 AM
"In 1995, the wholesale price was $5000 a pound"

That guy was getting ripped off in 1995 is all have to say!!!sid

Drop1
12-03-2005, 05:37 PM
Make it legal,and watch it drop to $3.00 a pound. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

supergreenman
12-03-2005, 06:25 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Drop1:</font><hr> Make it legal,and watch it drop to $3.00 a pound. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Are you kidding.... all that will happen is we'll trade the criminals for the government as a drug dealer.

They wouldn't waste the oportunity to tax it like tobacco and booze. I'm suprised they haven't already.

If it wasn't for those darn prohibitionists (Anslinger et al)with thier feathers all in a knot about the end of prohibition on booze, pot would never have been illigal.

Drop1
12-03-2005, 08:15 PM
I don't care who deals drugs.The government,or the dealers,or my Aunt Martha. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

dg-in-centralpa
12-04-2005, 11:50 AM
Let the government sell it and watch the national debt drop.

DG

Stretch
12-04-2005, 11:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote supergreenman:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Drop1:</font><hr> Make it legal,and watch it drop to $3.00 a pound. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Are you kidding.... all that will happen is we'll trade the criminals for the government as a drug dealer.

They wouldn't waste the oportunity to tax it like tobacco and booze. I'm suprised they haven't already.

If it wasn't for those darn prohibitionists (Anslinger et al)with thier feathers all in a knot about the end of prohibition on booze, pot would never have been illigal. <hr /></blockquote>

What the government is doing now is criminal. At least by getting into the Marijuana buisness they can drop the pretence. How dare they dictate what is moral or legal for that matter. I remember when they threw gameing machine operators in jail siting the evils of gambling, and the corruption that it bread leading to the degeneration of the moral fabric of sosciety it brought. Ha! Ha! Ha! Of course now that THEY effectively wiped out the competition with thier haistily made laws it left the way clear for them to get into the loterys and gaming machines themselves big time. Short memories huh?

Fact is thier all a bunch of self serving hypocrits. At least your local dealer or bootlegger dosn't pretend to be or do anything other than wut they are and the choice is yours to do or do not. St.

Gayle in MD
12-06-2005, 02:46 PM
/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

kyle
12-06-2005, 09:45 PM
It always comes down to money, it was originally made illegal to create a monopoly in the rope industry. The Duponts (I think) had developed a synthetic rope (which was more exspensive then rope made from hemp) they convinced the white house that pot was evil and hemp was being used to hide marijuana crops, with hemp/marijuana illegal now everybody had no choice but to buy the new kind of rope. The situation is similar today with drug companies that would loose sales if weed became legal. Health care in the U.S is a private industry (making money is more important than saving it)in Canada it's the goverments responsibility and if they can save money they will. It's more about who'd loose money than who it would help (IMO)

pooltchr
12-07-2005, 06:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote kyle:</font><hr> in Canada it's the goverments responsibility and if they can save money they will. <hr /></blockquote>

In this country, the government isn't the least bit concerned with saving money...in fact, they are constantly looking for new ways to spend it! /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Steve

supergreenman
12-07-2005, 09:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote kyle:</font><hr> in Canada it's the goverments responsibility and if they can save money they will. <hr /></blockquote>

In this country, the government isn't the least bit concerned with saving money...in fact, they are constantly looking for new ways to spend it! /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

Governments are all the same in that regard. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif