By David Kruse, president of CommStock Investments, Inc.
David Kruse, president of CommStock Investments, Inc.
I probably didn’t expect to ever see the Farm Journal headline, “Marijuana farming is now for US agriculture.” Yet surprise — surprise! There it was! Huge investment is being put into cannabis growing operations and they expect “weed” to be traded like other commodities and that even an export market to develop for cannabis. Marijuana was legalized for medical use in over half of U.S. states in 2016. Eight states and Washington, D.C., have approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Should marijuana production be legal? A large majority of Americans regardless whether they are Democrats, independents or Republicans say “yes.” Yet marijuana sale and use are still a federal offense conflicting with state laws legalizing it.
Commercial marijuana production has become a booming business in states where it has been legalized becoming a legal crop on farms. One agriculture producer says that their operation now produces 1,500 acres of row crops, 400 cattle and 20,000 pounds of marijuana. It was either Tennessee or Kentucky, where marijuana production was their largest cash crop … while illegal.
Legalizing marijuana production and use would appear to fit the “America First” agenda as it would cut Mexican Cartels out of the business and allows law enforcement resources to be used elsewhere. The money stays in the local economy creating jobs. States can realistically add $300 million to $500 million to tax revenues from taxing marijuana. In 2016, marijuana generated $7.6 billion in its second full year as an industry, but Nic Easley, founder of Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting, says the true value is far greater: “We’re talking about $20 billion if you factor in ancillaries. However, factor in the U.S. illicit market, valued at $50 billion