Casaubon's Book

The son seems to have taken a prior (and extremely common) teenage interest in “agriculture” and turned it into an actual interest in agriculture. I suppose you could see it as sinister, but I don’t – I think anyone who wants to grow things, even pot, bad enough to move out to the desert and live off-grid is doing something worth taking seriously.

What’s interesting about this video is the observation by the son that because the black market has set the prices, this is an extremely lucrative project for him and his mother. I’ve seen estimates that suggest, for example, that the entire California budget shorfall could be closed within a year or two of legalization, simply through new tax revenues. Legalizing drugs would, eventually, reduce the premium on this – but it makes absolutely no sense to see farmers going out of business by the thousands, with no chance to share in the short-term high profitability of marajuana growth (in 2005, for example, marajuana was the single highest-value crop grown in the United States and we produce a *lot* of it).

In this sense, the drug laws operate not to reduce supply, not to get people to stop using – neither of those things has happened – all they do is make sure legitimate farmers can’t profit, but criminals can. On the other hand, if you grow food in the US, you are automatically under suspicion of daring to grow a fairly harmless high value crop – seriously, put out some row crops someday and wait for the low-flying helicopters to come over.

We can’t afford the war on drugs for a whole host of reasons – I’ve written about them at more length here: http://sharonastyk.com/2009/06/30/the-smart-course-or-the-stupid-one-why-legalizing-drugs-now-is-just-common-sense/. California seems to be gradually heading towards legalization, and that’s a good thing. The truth is that we need more farmers – and we need them to be able to grow high value crops already in circulation. If you could make drugs go away by criminalizing them, we’d have done it already. So why screw farmers (again)?

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Green Assassin Brigade
    December 14, 2009

    Its rather unclear if this is a legal opperation or not, are some U.S. states now giving licenses to grow? Otherwise these folks are not too bright going on TV.

    The underground drug business is dangerous, violent, creates property damage when renters turn houses into grow ops, diverts money to criminals, thwarts the tax man and gives customers no way of knowing if the product was produced safe and unadulterated. Prohibition does far more harm than good.

    A recent UN funded study even proves that legalization would cause less personal and societal harm and cost than the current laws. The study also shows that booze and Tobacco cause more harm than pot does now, making its prohibition irrational.

    See study
    http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/policy/cannabis_commission.html

    Besides learning how to grow a couple of pot plants gets people that much closer to knowing how to grow their own food.

  2. #2 Sue in pacNW
    December 14, 2009

    Sharon,

    Seems to me that the Fed should be able to bend enough to allow farmers to at least grow hemp…there are so many small business opportunities using hemp from rope to shoes to clothing and more that it seems like a no brainer to me. As a child of the 60’s I would be delighted to be able to grow a few MJ plants like any other of my herbs – I also like the point by GAB above about growing pot as a gateway :) to growing ones own food.

    Sue

  3. #3 Sharon Astyk
    December 14, 2009

    In CA, growing medical marajuana is legal within certain parameters, so no, I think they are ok going on tv. I love the idea of it being a gateway drug…to the addiction of growing food/

    Sharon

  4. #4 abb3w
    December 14, 2009

    ObBloomCounty: “Taint corn. It’s dope.”

    The demand is not perfectly inelastic; illegality does increase the supply cost curve, and thus reduces the supply and use. However, the reduction is not total (basic nature of supply curve shifts) and produces substantial externalities in the process (via economic resources shifting to criminal cartels).

    (Myself, I’m happy just growing nasturtiums.)

  5. #5 Joseph j7uy5
    December 14, 2009

    The other benefit would be a reduction in electricity use. Growing cannabis indoors requires a lot of electricity. All those kilowatt-hours are essentially wasted, since it would not be necessary outdoors.

    And you are correct about the surveillance issue. We’ve had cops nosing around our place, too. They seem to be especially curious about the basil, for some reason.

  6. #6 Brad K.
    December 14, 2009

    I second Sue – the argument that the 20,000 industrial uses of hemp, when Marijuana was made illegal in the 1930’s, were driven overseas – always made sense to me.

    I recall reading that during WWII, farmers in central Iowa had contracts to grow hemp (not necessarily the high-potency plant pot growers favor) for rope for the Navy. And that the original Levi’s blue jeans included hemp fibers for durability and comfort.

    I lived in California in the mid-1980s, and the loss of life among police during the annual CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Producers) armed assaults seemed sad and unnecessary.

  7. #7 AnnMarie
    December 15, 2009

    Technical suggestion: If you include a video, say so right before or after. It didn’t show up in my reader (Bloglines) and I was left quite curious about whose son. I know your kids aren’t that old yet, and I made sure you where actually writing. And then I decided to check the site to see what I was missing.

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