Tag: crime (page 1 of 7)

How Much Cannabis Does California Grow? $23 Billion Worth, According to New Infographic

Kurt Snibbe has put together a wonderful infographic on California cannabis that simply needs to be shared. The data, like most in the cannabis space, is only a portion of the bigger story, but the graphic does a wonderful job visualizing the existing impact and influence that cannabis already has on California’s agricultural economy.

The goal of the infographic is to show the scale at which cannabis cultivation in California compares with the rest of our agricultural production, both within the state and throughout the rest of the country.

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Spoiler alert: California grows quite a bit of cannabis. Actually, the evidence points to the fact that California is the largest producer of cannabis each year by a long shot.

While the data is revealing, it is weighted on certain estimates that may be too high (or too low). For instance, total plant cultivation is being extrapolated from the total number of plants seized from national forests in the year 2013.

Plants Seized in National Forests, 2013

Plants Seized in National Forests, 2013

Cannabis production has likely increased since 2013, and the confiscated plants from public land do not give us an accurate idea of how many plants are being grown on private land. Some estimates of the number of California cannabis operations fall between twenty and fifty thousand. Not plants, but the farms themselves!

The estimated market size is also a product of great estimation, but once again it is not clear which side of the pendulum we are leaning when guesstimates are made. According to the United Nations World Drug Report, law enforcement confiscates between ten and twenty percent of drugs produced.

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Based on the California confiscation rates in 2015 (2.64 million plants), there could have been at least 13.2 million plants grown in total, of which 11 million were not seized. These numbers are actually low on the scale of estimates.

If the number of plants grown during California’s 2015 season was above 10 million, then based on the going rate for a pound of cannabis (between 1500 and 2000 dollars), Snibbe estimates California’s cannabis production may be worth roughly 23 billion dollars, wholesale!

Once again, these estimates are very broad and deserve a more in-depth look, but Snibbe is able to get the message across. California is the leading cannabis economy in the world.

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Not only do we produce more cannabis than any other single American state four times over, we also create nearly four times as much value from cannabis production as we do from milk, and five times as much money as we get from our combined almond production.

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In fact, out of 47 billion dollars in cash farm receipts from 2015, Snibbe estimates that half was from cannabis production. All of the images used in this article are screenshots from the original infographic, available below and on the OC Register web resources.

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Average Traffic Fatalities Decrease After States Pass Medical Cannabis Laws

Researchers from Columbia University have uncovered a positive trend among states with legally accessible cannabis. According to the data, states with medical cannabis laws have seen lower traffic fatality rates than states without legal medical cannabis.

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After reviewing traffic data from 1985 to 2014, the researchers concluded that traffic fatalities dropped an average of 11 percent after medical cannabis laws were passed.

The study, titled US Traffic Fatalities, 1985-2014, and Their Relationship to Medical Marijuana Laws was recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, which is a respectable and influential medical journal circulating among American physicians and regulators.

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These findings are majorly important for future debates on cannabis legalization, as those opposed to cannabis laws often claim that the greatest risks cannabis poses to public health are increased youth exposure and increased traffic fatalities.

One of the key results is that while only 7 of 19 states experienced statistically-significant reductions in traffic fatalities after adopting medical cannabis laws, there was a marked decrease specifically among those aged 15 to 44.

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Anti-cannabis groups are sure to point to the fact that other localized factors are involved in traffic death statistics. Still, the states that saw the biggest death rate reductions are amongthe states that are most adamant about their medical cannabis laws. These magnificent seven are Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

In total, these states had a combined population of 66.844 million in 2014, when the entire American population was listed as 318.9 million according to census data. So in other words, the study concluded that states with a combined 20 percent of the US population were experiencing significant decreases in traffic fatalities, all corresponding to the enactment of medical cannabis laws.

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Additionally, the researchers did not differentiate between states with robust cannabis accessibility versus states that had passed limited medical programs. The seven states listed above have arguably the most progressive cannabis laws in the nation. And to top it off, the two states that saw an increase in traffic mortality rates were Connecticut and Rhode Island, with a combined population of only 4.652 million people.

As good scientists will say, these results are only the beginning, and further research is necessary for American states to make actionable decisions in the future. However, the researchers from Columbia University (as well as the co-authors from UC Davis and Boston University) are extremely confident that their report will help influence policy decisions associated with medical cannabis, even if other local factors assisted with the overall decreases in traffic death rates.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Amendment Protecting Banks that Serve Cannabis Businesses

On Thursday, June 16th, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that prohibits federal funds from being used to prosecute banks that host accounts for cannabis businesses. This is a major step forward for a legitimate cannabis industry.

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The measure was narrowly approved by a 16-14 vote, which was swayed by three Republican senators affirming the decision. The amendment is attached to the Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which heads to the Senate floor for review. The purpose of the amendment is to resolve dangerous issues that have plagued the cash-only cannabis industry.

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Financial institutions have been apprehensive about accepting cannabis business deposits as current policy continues to threaten banks with the loss of federal accreditation. The language approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee states:

“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used, with respect to a State or jurisdiction where marijuana is legal, to prohibit or penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that:

  1. involves handling marijuana or marijuana products; and
  2. engages in such activity pursuant to and compliant with a law established by a State or a unit of local government.”

Banking has long been a prohibitive factor for businesses trying to operate in a safe and compliant manner. Even in states where cannabis has been recreationally legal for a number of years, businesses still do not have safe banking options, leaving them susceptible to robberies and other run-ins with organized crime.

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In 2014, the Justice Department and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a joint statement that said law enforcement authorities would no longer prioritize penalizing financial institutions that work with cannabis companies.

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The majority of financial institutions were not impressed with these loose promises of protections, and are waiting until their are firm federal standards in place that allow them to operate in full compliance.

Cannabis Reports supports this measure as vital progress for the industry and community. For the most up to date info on Cannabis Reports, follow us on Twitter, and like us on our Facebook page.

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