Pubdate: Tue, 06 Apr 2010
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2010 East Bay Express
Author: David Downs


The latest wrinkle in California's marijuana legalization story comes
from up north, where some growers in the Emerald Triangle foresee
economic apocalypse.

If cannabis is legalized for adult use and cultivation, they say
supply may increase and prices will collapse along with grower
revenue, which can reach $5,000 per pound for the most potent,
well-tended crops.

The Associated Press reported from a town hall up North where Anna
Hamilton, 62, a Humboldt County radio host and musician said: "The
legalization of marijuana will be the single most devastating economic
event in the long boom-and-bust history of Northern

Some of Hamilton's neighbors, however, are a bit more sanguine. They
say Humboldt could become the new Napa Valley of cannabis. The AP
reported that "a dreadlocked younger grower ... objected that no one
could replicate the quality of the region's" cannabis. "Humboldt
nuggets -- that was like the holy grail," he said. "Anyone can grow
marijuana. But not everyone can grow the super-heavies, the holy bud."

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that the estimated value of
Humboldt County's pot crop ranges from $1.2 billion to $4.4 billion.
In comparison, the county's total taxable retail sales were $1.3
billion in 2007, according to the Center for Economic Development at
CSU Chico.

And the concern voiced by Humboldt residents may not be just paranoia.
The state Board of Equalization estimated cannabis prices will drop 50
percent after legalization, and demand will go up forty percent.
However, a 2009 study by the Rand Corporation economist couldn't say
what would happen if cannabis legalization occurred. There's just not
enough economic data to make such predictions, they noted.

Never doubt the power of unintended consequences. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake