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Can Marijuana Save California Agriculture?

California produces a large chunk of the nation's crops despite a shortage of water. The demand for water for cities has created a problem for agriculture that will only get worse. Legal marijuana crops could benefit the state's industry by bringing in more money, employing more people, and using fewer resources.

First, while growing outdoor pot is not especially ecologically benign, it’s far more benign than raising commodities like cattle, rice or alfalfa. Consider: Agriculture uses 80 percent of California’s developed water supply; alfalfa soaks up a full 20 percent of that. The alfalfa is used primarily to create forage for feedlot and dairy. That means that 1 gallon out of every 5 used in California goes to a crop that humans can’t eat.

People don’t make a meal of marijuana either, of course. But measured by water, marijuana barely registers on the California’s water scale. A pound of pot requires, at the outermost limit, 250 gallons to grow, which means that a large serving of it requires about a half pint of water. By contrast, an orange takes 13 gallons water, a glass of wine 32 gallons, and a hamburger 600 gallons.

http://www.miller-mccune.com/business-economics/marijuana-dark-horse-savior-of-california-agriculture-11863/

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Harperdog.


i don't smoke pot, i used to in highschool, but now i'm just not into it.

that having been said, i am 100% for the legalization of marijuana. it will reduce the number of pointless incarcerations in this country, will weaken the mexican drug cartels who currently murder an astounding number of people in both mexico and the united states, and will be a great boon to the economy.

pot is lame, it makes you lazy and pointless, the true opiate of the masses, but it's harmless to bystanders and people already smoke it despite it's illegality.

the money that drug cartels make off of pot could be going to us. job creation is also a good benefit.

the social stigma is slowly decreasing, although it's legalization today might cause quite a stir, i hope for the good of our country that it will soon become less disputed.

also, everybody who says "it will never happen" should look into the long list of other things that people have lauded as impossible throughout history. the idea that what is impossible to imagine is impossible to achieve is a a fallacy that never ends.
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I have never done pot, and don't want to, but I have no problem with other people using it, especially those going through chemo. If it was 100% legal in the USA, I think California should grow it and change tons of tax on it to try to get out of debt. I'm all for free will, and people deciding for themselves what they should put into their body, assuming it isn't hurting anyone. My problem with pot being illegal is the people who buy it are often supporting violent drug cartels.
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Ditto everything c0ldfish said.
I used to smoke weed as a teen, don't have any desire to now.
BUT I think it should be legalized. I just don't see the problem with it.
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Let me raise the opposite viewpoint: what do you think will happen if pot is legalized? It will suddenly become a respectable business?

We can take a look at the Netherlands, where selling pot is tolerated (though technically still illegal). The marijuana business is owned by the mob. Cocaine smuggling and ecstasy use are on the rise.

In Los Angeles, where "medical" marijuana clinics have opened, local property crimes have increased. I know a guy who had to move his office because he was burglarized two times in a month since his neighbor opened such a clinic.
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"We can take a look at the Netherlands, where selling pot is tolerated (though technically still illegal). The marijuana business is owned by the mob. Cocaine smuggling and ecstasy use are on the rise."

How does cocaine and ecstasy relate to marijuana in any way? 2nd the mob does not control the entire marijuana trade in the Netherlands any more they they run buy here pay her car dealers over here. so does that mean we should ban buy here pay here car dealerships?

"In Los Angeles, where "medical" marijuana clinics have opened, local property crimes have increased. I know a guy who had to move his office because he was burglarized two times in a month since his neighbor opened such a clinic."

Odds are the crime was committed by people seeking to seal the marijuana from the dispensaries to sell on the street. and act that would be pointless if it were legal.
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No. It will not save agriculture, but it might add some jobs. It might cause an increase in crime and use. Until a Federal law is passed, this may cause more problems than it is worth.
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"How does cocaine and ecstasy relate to marijuana in any way?"

Where do you think coffee shop owners buy their pot from? While retail sales of small amounts of pot in the Netherlands are tolerated, growth and wholesale sales of pot aren't. Coffee shop owners have to buy from organized crime.

Cocaine and ecstasy relate to marijuana because the same set of people deal in them. By the way, the rise in cocaine smuggling and illegal ecstasy lab aren't just suppositions. They're real, hard data from the Dutch govt.

"Odds are the crime was committed by people seeking to seal the marijuana from the dispensaries to sell on the street."

Why buy on the street if medical marijuana is already there? (That whole "medical" part is a joke - you can get "doctor's prescription" at the same place they sell pot!) No, nearby businesses are burglarized because medical marijuana attracts unsavory parts of society.

There's a backlash both in Los Angeles (against dispensaries) and in the Netherlands (against coffee shops). Both cities have been closing down (or trying to close down) pot outlets. Why do you think that is?
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"Cocaine and ecstasy relate to marijuana because the same set of people deal in them."

That's not true. That's an assumption many people make because cannabis is a schedule I substance in the US along with cocaine and ecstasy.

"No, nearby businesses are burglarized because medical marijuana attracts unsavory parts of society."

Another assumption on your part. Most people who smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis are nonviolent people. You sound like a very sheltered person who stereotypes groups of people easily.

Alcohol and even caffeine are more likely to cause someone to burglarize a home or office. The reason why you think "unsavory parts of society" deal with cannabis is because it's illegal and it's profitable. Anything that is illegal that still has profitable margins will attracts gangs and mafia. Netherlands is case and point, if they legalized cannabis then the mobs wouldn't dominate the market. Why do you think cannabis is allowed to be sold in shops but still "illegal?" Many Dutch politicians have ties with Dutch mafias, and therefore it is in the politicians and the mafias' best interest to keep cannabis "illegal" in Holland.

What it comes down to is money. Cannabis is safe, tested and proven to be safer than most if not all legal psychoactive substances. Cannabis is so highly desired that its sale brings in huge profits for the vendors and this, of course, attracts gangs and mafias because of its illegality. If cannabis was regulated similarly to tobacco, with an age requirement via proof of ID, legitimate growers would flourish and there would be no need for "drug dealers" and the violence that many people (wrongly) associate with marijuana.
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I have to side with Johnny Appleseed on this one. Precisely because the Netherlands forbids the "production" and "wholesale" of Canabis the "experiment" didn't work.

Sorry for all the "".
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Link of marijuana to organized crime: http://articles.sfgate.com/2005-06-23/news/17379540_1_cannabis-clubs-medical-marijuana-dispensaries

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/22882051/detail.html

Alcohol and even caffeine are more likely to cause someone to burglarize a home or office.

That's an assumption on your part ;)

Why do you think cannabis is allowed to be sold in shops but still "illegal?" Many Dutch politicians have ties with Dutch mafias, and therefore it is in the politicians and the mafias' best interest to keep cannabis "illegal" in Holland.

This is self-contradictory. If it's better for profit margin for the crooked Dutch politicians to keep marijuana illegal and force the underground market to flourish, then why let it be sold openly on coffee shops?

If cannabis was regulated similarly to tobacco, with an age requirement via proof of ID, legitimate growers would flourish and there would be no need for "drug dealers" and the violence that many people (wrongly) associate with marijuana.

That's a big assumption on your part. Do you think the mafia will just walk away? Nope, you'll be legitimizing them.

---

Let's make a big distinction between decriminalizing and legalization. We can go a long way to tackle the nation's drug problem if we decriminalize marijuana possession (i.e. small amount of pot? That's a fine - just like a parking ticket), but big wholesale production of marijuana is still illegal.
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I don't have time to address everything you've brought up but first of all - that "assumption" regarding alcohol and caffeine being more likely is support by academic studies that I don't have the time to locate and share with you, but I will definitely look for them when I get back from the office.

As far as how the politicians and mafia in Holland profit from the coffee shops... I really didn't think I had to explain it but it works like this...

The guys who grow it get contracted by the mafias (with ties to politicians) to grow the cannabis. The mafias then receive the weed and pay the growers a minimal fee, but something worth their time. It would be inefficient for them to sell it themselves so they sell it to independent business who mark up the price so that they themselves get a profit. If you've ever done business before you know this is a pretty common tactic.

As far as mafias "going away," well... it would take on a different face. "Big Tobacco" companies are pretty much mafias, when you get down to the brass tacks of the matter. It's all economics... And it makes no sense to keep cannabis illegal. As far as those articles... well, having worked as a journalist for 15 years for the Chicago Tribune I know for a fact that it's very easy to create trends which may or may not actually exist to the degree which they are declared.

Decriminalization is pussyfooting around the main issue. Cannabis/hemp is a business, and if the US government were to regulate this business like it does so many other commodities it would become a safer business with a safer, FDA regulated product. Do some research about why people smoke, why people sell, and actual medical research as to the health effects and you'll find that it's not as criminal as you are making it out to be. I take it you've never smoked, huh?

Also, look at prohibition in the early parts of last century... If you make something people want illegal there will be avenues of distribution run by criminals. Make it federally regulated with state guidelines and you have a business, replacing uzis with lawyers.
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Also, that first article is 5 years old... It does not surprise me that at the forefront of this initiative there were some idiots attracted like a moth to flame. Look at PS3 sales the first week, I bet you'll find more people who broke into a lot of Best Buys and other electronics stores.

I don't understand your conviction on this issue... it makes a lot of sense to legalize it and federally regulate it.
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...And the second article, well is that a surprise? Of course people want to steal the cannabis. It can be sold on the black market for lots of money. People try to rob from jewelry stores all the time! Fine art? HUGE target for thieves and burglaries.
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I don't understand your conviction on this issue... it makes a lot of sense to legalize it and federally regulate it.

Legalization and decriminalization are two different things. We do not want to legalize drug cartels. We do, however, need to stop sending people to prison for relatively minor drug offenses, thus decriminalization.

That, by the way was the intent of the Netherlands "experiment." The fact that communities are scaling back/closing coffee shops shows that making pot freely available de facto (though not de jure) did not yield good societal benefits should tell you something.

By the way, no one ever answered my question:

Do you think drug cartels will go away from the pot business if pot is legalized?
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I can't speak for other places in southern California, but HERE, as of a couple weeks ago, my fiancee needed to see a doctor not affiliated with a dispensary in order to get a prescription, and in order to get that prescription, she needed to bring in all her medical records chronicling her history of chronic pain (which is progressive and devastating, for the record) and cancer.

A person cannot simply walk into a dispensary, say they have a headache, and walk out with an ounce of chronic. If that does happen, the dispensary is, naturally, closed down.

And not that it matters, but I do not smoke at all.
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"Do you think drug cartels will go away from the pot business if pot is legalized?"

If it is completely legalized and not taxed beyond reason, yes.
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Just imagine how much money it would bring in if it were legalized.
I don't see how it's any worse than alcohol in the way that it affects someone. And even tobacco can cause someone to get lightheaded and woozy.
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So they grow marijuana which makes it more accessible which makes use go up which makes munchies go up which requires an increase in food production which is a bigger burden on water supplies.

How about California just says 'f*** the gray-brown spotted striped squirrel-shrew' or whatever species is holding up water irrigation and just pipes more water?
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Water supply out here is more complicated than that. We have too many people living in the southwest without adequate sources of water. Protecting (or not) one species or another won't really change that fact.
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There's another type of shop that gets burglarized alot - it's called a Liquor Store.

They also attract alot of unsavory type of people, and kids too.

And it's scientifically proven that alcohol is not only massively addictive, but harmful to almost every system in the body.

Many people start out with the much more socially accepted form - called "beer", and then move into much harder types as their addiction grows.

It's used in many forms of entertainment (tv, movies, music, etc) especially in those forms targeted at young people.

Numerous famous people are known to be alcohol addicts, yet they still find work (or re-election) even after several trips to rehab.

Although there are many many laws regarding alcohol, it depends on your social economic status on how much trouble you'll get into.

Either the government should just relabel itself as "big brother" and protect all it's citizens from themselves, or they should get out of the personal vice patrol business.

To go both ways weakens their case (from either POV) and just smacks of injustice and hypocrisy.
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The legalization and taxation of cannabis can add billions of dollars to a state's economy. And for a state like California, where a large part of the country's domestic crop is grown, the potential revenue from cannabis could save a faltering state economy.
I think at this point in the game, the the need for tax dollars will be the ultimate reason cannabis will be legalized.
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Sure alcohol has its problem. But by that logic, why don't we legalize prostitution, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and meth? Plus, the tax potential has got to be super tremendous!

And since there'd be no illegal drug business, the cartels will all hang up their guns and start collecting stamps or something.
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prohibition, whether it is alcohol or a relatively benign drug like pot, is ALWAYS going to spawn criminal enterprise because people will ALWAYS want their recreational substances. what i'll never understand is why the US didn't learn that lesson the first time
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i think the issues that alex originally raised, the netherlands mob run weed sales and californias crime raise are both issues of supply and demand.

the supply does not meet the demand, it accommodates the medical demand for marijuana but the recreational users are still willing to pay high prices for it making it a lucrative substance to steal or sell independently.

one of the consequences of legalized marijuana would be a much lower cost for the average consumer. people would buy pot like booze or cigarettes. the prohibition era gives us a golden example of a highly lucrative illegal trade which was completely obliterated by legalization. nobody sells booze illegally anymore and nobody robs liquor stores to resell the booze.

if anybody could buy pot that was grown and distributed by corporate pot farms the price would be low and there would be no reason to contact a drug dealer (who might have seedy ties) rather than walking down to a drug store and buying some legally.

legalization only works if it's wholesale. scarcity drives criminal activity. the netherlands experiment was ill conceived and californias current established weed laws only put a small dent in the illegal pot market.

on the subject of cocaine and meth and prostitution, those things are not pot. meth tears your body apart. heroin killed my friend. cocaine really isn't that bad. and prostitution is alright by me as long as the whores get tested. as human beings we have to examine everything and make individual judgment calls. sweeping generalizations are worthless and i feel that weed passes every rational qualification for legality.
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Prostitution is legal in a couple of European countries and the general population has not been negatively affected by this move. Quite on the contrary, the prostitutes now belong to the "productive" parts of society, i.e. the ones paying taxes, etc. The prostitutes themselves benefit from healthcare and better legal protection (I mean: pimps have become a thing of the past). So, if we stick to this example without applying conservative US moralism it would seem that, yes, this pans out.

Let's move that one further and have a look at the Czech republic that has decriminalized marihuana and has since not encountered an increase in usage, but definitely a decrease in pot-based criminality. The Netherlands, btw, experienced a similar decrease when they first introduced decriminalized cannabis. If it has increased against since then, one should pose the question if that doesn't mainly have to do with the large amount of (mainly US) drug tourists (which, btw, is the real reason why the government has decided to restrict access again).

To be honest, if US citizens weren't so bent on consuming drugs, the entire war on drugs in Mexico could be cancelled. Where there is demand, there will be supply - that is an ancient axiom of economics. And it's not the Mexicans who are getting high and wasting their brains, it's the US Americans.

Attack the problem at the source, don't try to outsource it.
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This is probably the dumbest argument that I have heard yet for legalizing marijuana, but it sounds like a sane one. How can raising marijuana replace the need for animal forage crops. It will only require more water for the Mary Jane even if it is a small amount. Some farmers might choose to plant pot instead of alfalfa, but there will still be a need for animal feed. Unless you want to quit eating, it's not a good option.
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I forgot to add: it's not as if the current laws have done anything to avoid the spread of drug usage (like wildfire, actually). If we don't have a better model, while not try something different? History has taught us that when we stop seeing the world in a narrow-minded fashion, we often do stumble on real solutions.

I recall attending a conference where high-ranking members of both the FBI and the FDA agreed that decriminalizing drugs, potentially even legalizing pot would be a more feasible solution to the issue than the continued "war on drugs". But, just as on the "war against terror" it is easier to propagate populism than sitting down to consider alternatives.

I don't need to mention that, in general, journalism is intended to at least try being objective. I don't see that in this post, on the contrary: it is direly missing.
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I've never seen Alex comment so much on a topic.

If prostitution were legalized, how would it be regulsted? Would every john go to a "Prostitution Store", and would every hooker suddenly become civil servants? No, there would still be women and men who wouldn't register their sex trade business with the government, and who wouldn't abide by the regulations. There would still be crime associated with the business.

If pot were legalized, the government would still have to enforce traffic laws just like with DUIs. There would still be people selling it illegally, along with other illegal drugs, because nobody wants to pay the same price as in the Pot Store. There would be a minimum smoking age. There would still be crime and laws associated with it, and people will still break the laws.
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Just got a mental image of hookers as civil servants.

"No, sir, you're in the wrong line. This is line is for S&M only. You'll have to fill out this form and wait over there."

Sorry, way off-topic.
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why would people buy pot illegally if they could buy it at a pot store? you seem to think that the marijuana sold commercially would have to be more expensive. pot is not hard to grow and the majority of it's current market price (my "roommate" sells) is due to the cost of shipping it, the number of people in the chain of sales, and the risk involved. the lack of a constant supply also allows for people to sell it at higher prices. when people hear that somebody has stuff in they are willing to shell out because they don't know when they will get to buy again. my "roommate" who sells has to buy it from a higher up drug dealer and he buys it from a pusher who maybe buys it from a runner who either gets it from cali or canada or mexico. that's a long ways and a lot of people.
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Why are so many people here saying Marijuana is grown by Criminal gangs in Holland?

It's grown and regulated by the Government.

Alot can be learned from Hollands approach to drugs.
In Holland, if you have a cocaine addiction, you go to the doctor, and get some Cocaine... it's MUCH more sensible than having it unregulated and being sold by people on the streets... At least if it's being administered by a doctor, the user KNOWS what he's getting, also the doctor can slowly ween him off it and offer him help... How can anybody think our system is better at dealing with the issue of drug use? People in America are buying drugs from people they don't know, that are cut with God knows what from people who are actively ENCOURAGING their drug habbit.

IMHO The government should grow some balls and REALLY confront this problem... They waste time targeting the end user and very rarely take down the people making and supplying the drugs
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I find it funny that people are still arguing about this. It's currently legal to grow medical marijuana in California and it's doing a great deal of good I believe.

Also, federal law doesn't trump state law thanks to the good ol constitution of America which allows a state to ignore federal law if they so choose.
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