California was known as a major marijuana-producing state before it legalized recreational use. Just how big of a producer may surprise you. Take a look at this detailed infographic developed by our partners at the Orange County Register. Read more about what they found below.
As of Nov. 9, adults in California are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants per household as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place. Rules may vary depending on municipal restrictions. Purchasing marijuana for recreational use will not be allowed until 2018.
One indication of how much marijuana is grown in California is the number of plants seized by law enforcement on federal lands. The graphic above shows some of the largest areas where trespass cultivation occurred in 2013 in national forests.
Why on public lands?
A lot of outdoor cannabis cultivation in California occurs on public lands, where cultivators take advantage of remote areas to avoid risk of forfeiture of property.
Outdoor growing can yield more per plant and have less overhead than indoor growing. California has 1.3 million acres of state park land and more than 8 million acres of national forest and wilderness.
Estimated market total
The United Nations World Drug Report estimates that law enforcement around the world seizes only 10 to 20 percent of drugs produced. If the marijuana plants seized in 2015 (2.64 million) are considered to be 20 percent of California’s production, the state would have had 13.2 million plants. If each plant produced a conservatively estimated 1 pound with a market price of $1,765 per pound, the total value would equal about $23.3 billion.
What’s happened in other states
Colorado voted in 2012 to legalize recreational use of marijuana, which led to legalization in 2014. The charts below show how prices for marijuana declined in the state, while the taxes raised from it increased. California is likely to have the same situation but on a much larger scale.
Sources: California Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Agency, Leafly.com, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Priceofweed.com.