Cannabis Now America’s Fifth Most Profitable Crop
With eighteen states now offering legal recreational pot sales, cannabis is a bona fide profitable cash crop. In November, Leafly Holdings, Inc. released its first ever “Cannabis Harvest Report” that examined “farm licenses and production in the 11 states that have legal adult-use stores open and operating.” “Cannabis is medically legal in 37 states, but for purposes of this report we focused on operating adult-use states—the 11 states where any adult can walk into a licensed store and buy cannabis—for salience to the general public,” the report’s authors wrote. “In those 11 adult-use states, cannabis supports 13,042 licensed farms that harvested 2,278 metric tons of marijuana last year. That amount would fill 57 Olympic swimming pools, or over 11,000 dump trucks stretching for 36 miles—and it’s returning $6,175,000,000 to American farmers every year.” That figure of a little more than $6 billion “ranks (cannabis) as the fifth most valuable crop in the United States,” trailing corn ($61 billion), soybeans ($46 billion), hay ($17.3 billion), and wheat ($9.3 billion) but outpacing cotton ($4.7 billion), rice ($3.1 billion), and peanuts ($1.3 billion). The report said that in five of the states where adult-use cannabis sales are legal—Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon—cannabis is actually the most valuable crop. “In each of the 11 states with adult-use retail stores operating, cannabis ranks no lower than fifth in terms of agricultural crop value—often within two years of the first stores opening. In Alaska, the cannabis crop is worth more than twice as much as all other agricultural products combined,” the report’s authors wrote. The goal of the harvest report, Leafly said, was to “quantify annual cannabis production in operational adult-use states, just like the USDA’s Economic Research Service does for all non-cannabis crops.” “The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) tracks annual yields, prices, and…
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