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California’s 2013 Marijuana Harvest Was Worth 31 Billion Dollars


California marijuana arrestsMarijuana is big business in California. How big? According to a recently released report, California’s 2013 marijuana harvests were worth 31 billion dollars. Yes, that’s billion, with a B. This number is of course an estimate and not an exact figure due to the fact that California’s marijuana industry is hard to pin down. The true number could be a bit off of that number, or could be even larger than that number. Regardless of how exact the number is, one thing is for sure – California’s marijuana industry is enormous.

Imagine if the industry didn’t operate in the shadows, and was allowed to operate above-board. How much tax revenue would that generate for the State of California? According to California NORML, taxes from legalized marijuana sales in California could generate upwards of 2.5 billion dollars for the State. Anyone who has ever traveled to California or lives in California knows firsthand just how bad the State of California needs revenue right now.

California was the first state to vote on marijuana legalization during the 2010 Election. Unfortunately, that initiative was voted down. However, it was the first time any state had ever run a campaign to legalize marijuana, and I think the campaign did a commendable job navigating the uncharted territory. California, and other states, learned a lot from that campaign.

I’m confident that California will have another opportunity to vote on marijuana legalization, this time during the 2016 Election. It’s a presidential election year, which worked very well for Colorado and Washington during the 2012 Election. I wish the same was true for Oregon, which also voted on marijuana legalization during the 2012 Election. However, unfortunately, the campaign in Oregon was grossly underfunded. A successful California campaign in 2016 will need more money than all three of the 2012 campaigns combined, which I’m hoping won’t be an issue.


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Johnny Green


  1. I think what is happening in Colorado is great. And I congratulate Colorado for doing it as well as they have, however uncomfortable the birthing pains have been. I hope the larger picture works out so well.

    I get your point – you’re very persistent with it. I admire that passion. Yes – from the standpoint of a prisoner serving time for simple Cannabis possession, Legalization can’t happen fast enough. We all get how tragic and insane Prohibition is.

    Now, my point, which you don’t seem too interested in engaging, is that if all of the growers who resisted Legalization for apparently selfish reasons, were on-board with a more organized and secure future – MAYBE CALIFORNIA WOULD BE LEGAL ALREADY!! Which was why I posed the question: What kind of Cannabis economy do we want to see take shape ( in California, and across the Country)?

    Peace. Out. (as the kids say….)

  2. Humboldt Billy on

    I agree with all of your statements with the exception that people understand what gets sprayed on the cannabis, Unless you work at a grow you would not see all the stuff that gets sprayed on the monoculture of worn out genetics, Through using AACT I was able to grow the same clones without all the botrytis and spider mites and other issues the other greenhouses had. I too fear the market will be flooded with subpar product. Hopefully this will insure that skilled growers always have a job. Peace and Love to you Brother :)

  3. Uncle Arthur on

    There will always be a certain level of corporate involvement in weed whether you and I like it or not. It’s called reality. Try it. Twisting your arm to accept total corporatization, my what utter total unadulterated rubbish you speak.
    I still stand by Colorado. It’s beautiful not to have to know a friend of a friend of a friend that has weed. Colorado residents are free to grow a limited number of plants if they don’t want to buy weed from the man. The weed business is doing fine in Colorado, your dire observations notwithstanding.
    I want to have a serious discussion with you, but all you offer is pie in the sky foolishness. I am suspicious of people like you that slam legalization but never mention a word about the inhumanity of prohibition. My number one concern is about the people who are doing time in hell for something that is not criminal. What the hell is yours? If you don’t want to be buttonholed as a prohibitionists, then stop acting like one. Got it?

  4. I did!! About three years ago. I lacked the courage to jump into such a risky, unstable situation. And the cost of entry was already prohibitive at that point. I might note that in Boulder County, for example, growers have been confined to indoor grows in industrial parks. So even in a very enlightened place like Boulder, Colorado, you will meet people who’s livelyhoods could be undone by the dude with the huge greenhouse and the cheap labor. Dedicated small-time professionals will not be able to compete with that. And in roll the Corporations!! Hello Big Weed!! And onward rolls the tremendous disparity of wealth in America…. Look around you.

    Is that what you think is best for everyone? Don’t buttonhole me as someone who supports Prohibition, and all of the evil it represents. And don’t arm twist me into cheering on Corporate America, either. It’s not as simple as you want to make it, and I don’t care for the options you offer me. This is why I suggested some discussion on what would be the best possible outcome.

  5. Cannabis cures cancer? You keep claiming that, but you can’t present a single study that shows it. And you attempt to pretend that quoting some story about someone who SAYS cannabis oil “cured” his cancer is proof. Then you get mad when you’re called on it.

    Why should anyone vote for something just because some nut like you tells them to?

  6. just vote yes in CA. why does everything cost money to make happen. just fcking vote out there! what’s wrong with you all? the cancer cure people, the cancer cure in the form of cannabis oil could be legal everywhere in California. Wake up and just vote for it.

  7. Uncle Arthur on

    You need to go to Colorado. Legalization works. Please tell me that I am wrong to think that you are more fearful of legalization than the inhumanity of prohibition. It’s prohibition that would more likely produce runaway greenhouse effect rather than a legalized regulatory regime. Legalization shouldn’t have to be a boogeyman. Legalization should be for all big and small. Prohibition belongs in hell.

  8. Sadly, yes. And the money is there to be made, because the customers are there. Surely, some skilled growers are STILL supplying the cannabis clubs. I think people do understand “all the crap” that gets sprayed on ganja. I speak with legal Patients regularly who struggle to find a quality resource. Much of the problem starts with newbie growers who have too many mistakes to make. The problem is too many people who are clueless, trying to make a buck.

    To me, Legalization brings the threat of massive greenhouses in SoCal, manned by real cheap labor, producing tons of cheap mediocre meds. Peasants and Oligarchs! And mediocre meds!

    Thus my question: What do we really want the Cannabis economy in the US to look like?

  9. I can’t argue with that UA. There are good people and bad people everywhere you go. I will continue to advocate for quality, cottage industry, and local production. It’s true that a lot of crap weed from the west coast ends up here in the east, and I know that legal medical growers do not appreciate it.

  10. Beau Peepski on

    heh @ $200.00 an ounce that’s nearly 1/2 an ounce for every single U.S. citizen !

  11. Humboldt Billy on

    The decent living you speak of is only obtained by breaking the law and exporting to the east coast, Yes in 2010 some people could make a decent living with connections and growing high dollar strains for the cannabis clubs. What is the true motivation?$
    Helping truly sick people or making money. Almost anyone can grow, but few know how to put the love into it that really shows in the end. If people knew all the crap that is sprayed on the worn out genetics that some growers stick with they would not smoke it.

  12. Uncle Arthur on

    With my pro adult use legalization views, I probably wouldn’t last a day there. I’d be ran out on a rail.

  13. Uncle Arthur on

    Every point you make is spot on. I found the last paragraph ironic because the drug warriors are always saying that medical marijuana is a ruse for legalization. California’s generous medical marijuana regime has obviously become a disincentive for many to legalize full scale.

  14. Uncle Arthur on

    I’m sorry, but those guys you speak of will get no empathy from me whatsoever if they feel that they need to have prohibition do their dirty work for them. Prohibition is a crime against humanity. A good business person wouldn’t fear legalization, that person would adapt to the new model. That’s what good business people do, not sociopaths who don’t give a rat’s ass about their fellow man being in jail as long as they can make a quick buck.

  15. I live in Ca, in my opinion there are a lot of risk takers here just like everywhere else. I think the reason prop 19 didn’t pass in 2010 was because people, including some growers are just comfortable with the current legislation. I’m definitely not saying that’s good. We need to consider the people’s lives that are ruined from prohibition over a price fluctuation or other unforseen effects of legalization.
    Another reason why it’s taking so long for Ca to get it legalized is because there’s a massive hole in Sb420 that allows pretty much any adult Ca resident to get a MMJ card.

  16. Greed. There’s plenty of it around. And then there is a range of activity from there to outright altruism. I think it would be productive to speak to people’s natural interest in survival and economic security. I would like to see more discussion of what what we want – a healthy, sustainable, high quality cannabis economy. Surely there is a balance? I’m an advocate of keeping production at the cottage industry level, with production limits. Everybody deserves good, meaningful work that allows them to support themselves, their families, and the community. Before we start trashing people, let’s make sure we know where we are going.

    I’m not excusing greed, excess, or mindless arrogance, but Legalization to many may look like the end of a decent living. Just try putting yourself in the other guys shoes.

  17. Scumboldt will Fall on

    I have lived there around the 20 something year old weasels driving brand new $80,000 trucks that do not care about anything or anybody except money. If you lived there Uncle around these kind of self absorbed punks it would make perfect sense.

  18. Uncle Arthur on

    For a state that makes that kind of money on marijuana, I find it scandalous that California is taking ever so long to legalize it (recreationally). I always thought of California as a place for risk takers, but when it comes to marijuana legalization, California seems to embraces risk aversion. Four years have passed after prop 19 was voted down and marijuana still remains illegal in California (for rec use), which is inexcusable. But 2016 is supposed to be the big year, right? Will the stoners against legalization crowd come out again and dazzle us with their conspiracy theories on the evils of legalization? I’m sorry that I’m hard on California, but I say this because California is supposed to be much better than that.

  19. Smell my Nug on

    Growers motivated by greed instead of compassion helped kill it in 2010, I lived around the like in humboldt at the time.

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