Tuesday, December 19, 2006

THE VALUE OF STATISTICS

So, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has determined that the value of marijuana grown in the United States exceeds that of wheat and corn combined. California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Washington State each produce more than $1 billion worth of pot each.

Of course, this is true in large part because the value of marijuana is artificially inflated by the fact that it is illegal. The report cited a value of $1606 a pound for weed. This means that weed is currently worth almost nine times what silver bullion is.

The stoner who heads the NORML is quoted as saying
Marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the economy of the United States. The contribution of this market to the nation's gross domestic product is overlooked in the debate over effective control. Like all profitable agricultural crops marijuana adds resources and value to the economy. The focus of public policy should be how to effectively control this market through regulation and taxation in order to achieve immediate and realistic goals, such as reducing teenage access.

Actually, you could wipe out cultivation by legalizing weed, and flooding the market with any seized weed the government has, and taxing it at a low enough rate to discourage bootleg weed from hitting the market. The value of pot would fall from $1606 a pound to something much, much lower, and cultivators would have to make an economic decision about whether pot was worth growing. The market would stabilize, a level of illegality would be removed from many otherwise law-abiding stoners' lives, the police could pursue purveyors of hard drugs, instead of weed, and everything would be mellow.

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