Domestic Marijuana: A Neglected Industry

Domestic Marijuana: A Neglected Industry

Domestic Marijuana: A Neglected Industry

Domestic Marijuana: A Neglected Industry

Synopsis

Although the domestic marijuana industry may generate revenues as high as $60 billion each year and probably accounts for more than a fourth of the marijuana consumed in the United States, this is the first systematic study of the industry and of the people who cultivate marijuana for profit. Weisheit challenges popular images of the drug industry, by shifting focus from drug production in other countries and the plight of inner cities, to the rural drug scene in marijuana, how it involves white middle-aged men, and how the industry has developed.

Excerpt

Domestic marijuana cultivation was not officially recognized as a problem until 1982. In that year the government was able to check the amount of domestic marijuana seized against its first official estimate of domestic production. As it turned out, 38 percent more domestic marijuana was seized in 1982 than was even thought to exist (Warner, 1986). Since most authorities estimate that seizures represent only 10 to 20 percent of the marijuana available, the size of the discrepancy was astounding. The failure of officials to come even close to estimating the domestic marijuana crop on their first try reflected the extent to which marijuana growing was largely an invisible enterprise.

By the late 1980s the estimated size of the domestic industry continued to expand. It was thought that between 1 and 2 million people were growing marijuana recreationally, and as many as 250,000 were growing it commercially. The federal government estimated that between 1985 and 1988 the amount of marijuana produced in the United States doubled to nearly 5,000 metric tons (National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee, 1989). If marijuana cultivation was considered an industry, its annual revenues easily approached $60 billion (see chapter 4). The impact of domestic marijuana production on the domestic marijuana market has been substantial. Between one-fourth and one-half of the marijuana consumed in the United States is produced in this country, and as early as 1982 U.S. marijuana was thought to constitute as much as 10 percent of the marijuana used in Canada (Stamler,Fahlman &Vigeant, 1985).

By the late 1980s marijuana was routinely found growing in every state in the union, and law enforcement was becoming more sophisticated and determined in its efforts to eradicate domestic crops. By 1987, 48 states were taking part in the Drug Enforcement Administration's Domestic Marijuana Eradication Program. Further, more local and state police were trained to . . .

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