Marijuana Data

Kevin Drum notes that, in researching an article for the Summer issue of Mother Jones on marijuana legalization, he discovered that no one really knows rather basic facts, such as how many metric tons of the crop are cultivated each year domestically.  Indeed, “virtually all of the research related to cannabis is, perhaps fittingly, sort of hazy.”

I would presume, though, that this would be true for any illicit activity.   We have a good idea of how many people are murdered or how many banks are robbed, since those crimes produce tangible metrics.  But do we really have any clue about the size of the economy controlled by organized crime, the number of dollars bet illegally on sporting events, and the like?  I can’t imagine we do.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    I would presume, though, that this would be true for any illicit activity.

    Any activity at all, would be more like it. How many times have we seen stuff the government was supposed to know and understand that they clearly did not? It’s down to this, ames; When the government… particularly aleftist government, tries to state something as fact I will question it every time, based on previous experience.

    We have a good idea of how many people are murdered or how many banks are robbed, since those crimes produce tangible metrics.

    That depends on the reports, and the honesty of the compiler, doesn’t it?
    See, ‘Sampling’ and “Census” for examples.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Considering that when driving down practically any rural road in the Midwest I’ve seen rows of marijuana tucked between the corn and soybeans, I suspect the total amount cultivated is quite large.

  3. Ben says:

    Since its 4/20 and you’ve posted a marijuana-related article, I’ll pile on.

    Looks like the Obama administration is breaking their promise regarding Medical Marijuana already.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    Growing up in Eugene Oregon I know many of the foremost experts in the consumption of maryjane. 🙂

  5. Drew says:

    OK, OK……..not scientific. But after considering hectares, crop yields, transportation costs and drying shrinkage, tides, the rotation of the moon, and number of plays of the Dark Side of the Moon, and all sorts of other technical factors……. I’m thinking that as an undergrad me and me buddies were responsible for at least 10% of the combined GDP of Mexico and Columbia.

    Oddly, they’ve never thanked us…….

    nyuk, nyuk

  6. Wayne says:

    Dave
    You wouldn’t be exaggerating a tiny bit, would you? (Sarcasm off)

    Either that are you don’t know what a marijuana plant looks like. Most farmers would kill most of them off during the weeding process since it is a noxious wild weed. Anyone with half a brain that is growing it on purpose would plant it far away from the end of the rows so it wouldn’t be seen by passing traffic.

  7. anjin-san says:

    It’s down to this, ames; When the government… particularly aleftist government, tries to state something as fact I will question it every time, based on previous experience.

    Been many years since I did any pot smoking, but I remember how it used to amaze me that a few bong hits could make something as inane as “Gilligan’s Island” seem pretty interesting. Do you think if I fired up it might do the same for Bit’s political prose?

  8. anjin-san says:

    Nahhh. On second thought, that’s A Bridge too Far. No dope is that good.