Monday, December 18, 2006

Cash Crop

A recent report issued by the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws indicates that pot is the number one cash crop produced in the United States, with an estimated value of over $35 billion dollars a year.

That’s cool, but unfortunately, none of the farmers alluded to in the report have been able to find their wallets for the last two weeks, even though they sorta remember having them when the pizza delivery guy came last time.

The main reason the number is so high is that dope costs so much. The report estimates a pound of weed at about 1600 bucks; the last time I purchased a pound of corn, by comparison, it was like a quarter.

This tells me that if the government is really serious about cutting into the cannabis trade, it ought to encourage production so that prices fall. At 10,000 metric tons annually, the cash value of marijuana—if the price was about the same tobacco (around 90 cents a pound)—would be a paltry 18 million bucks per annum, way less, I’m sure, than even the annual cash value of brussel sprouts.

Predictably, I favor legalizing marijuana on the model of cigarettes, making them available for sale to anyone 18 and older, and taxing them heavily to pay for education, treatment programs, and national anti-pot smoking campaigns that—if those against cigarette smoking are any guide—may actually encourage teenagers to try dope rather than dissuading them.

If 18-20 year-olds could legally purchase marijuana, I think incidents of binge-drinking by freshman and sophomore college students would be reduced. When I was that age, I know the main reason I ever got drunk was that I couldn’t score any dope.

Plus, if a kid is old enough to die for his country, he’s certainly old enough to get high for it.

I’m also pretty sure that if more kids 18-20 were getting stoned, there’d be more students taking introductory philosophy classes.


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