There's Enough American Cannabis To Fill 57 Olympic Pools, Says Leafly

Cannabis is the fifth most valuable crop in the United States, effectively beating cotton. 

Farmers grew $6.175 billion worth of cannabis last year. That’s enough to fill 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Or, you can fill more than 11,000 dump trucks, stretching more than 36 miles. And that’s only across 11 adult-use states, not even including medical marijuana! 

With a crop this huge, you’d expect more data to be collected. The USDA Research Service keeps track of all non-cannabis crops, but they don’t account for cannabis produced in legal states because it’s illegal at the federal level. 

That’s why Leafly is stepping in to try and keep track of what’s being grown in the United States. Their new Cannabis Harvest Report for 2021 proves just how valuable American cannabis is to consumers and farmers alike. Leafly does the same thing with cannabis jobs, which are not tracked by the Department of Labor. 

Quick Data for the United States

  • This report analyzes 13,042 cannabis farms across 11 adult-use states. All of the states in the report have an active recreational program and operational retail stores.
  • Cannabis’ value in the United States is beating cotton, rice and peanuts. Cotton was worth $4.7 billion in America last year.
  • Corn, the nation’s leading crop, was valued at a whopping $61 billion last year. Corn, soybeans, hay, and wheat are the four crops that beat cannabis in value.
  • Cannabis is the #1 most valuable crop in Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon. 
  • Cannabis is currently worth between $500-$3,000 per wholesale pound across the United States. 

Alaska

  • The cannabis crop is worth more than twice as much as all other agricultural products combined in Alaska, including livestock and crops. 
  • Alaska’s 356 licensed cannabis farms produced 21 metric tons of cannabis during the fiscal year ending June 2021, which was worth $104 million wholesale.
  • Hay, Alaska’s second most valuable crop, generated $9 million annually during the last fiscal year. 

California

  • There’s an estimated seven cannabis farm licenses for every adult-use store in California, creating a lopsided cannabis market in the state. There’s more product than there are stores to sell it. 
  • California harvested 514 metric tons of cannabis last year, yielding a wholesale crop of $1.66 billion. Big numbers, but Colorado farmers are growing more cannabis than California farmers and bringing in approximately the same amount of money.

Colorado 

  • Colorado farmers produced an estimated 627 metric tons of cannabis in 2020, according to the Colorado Enforcement Division’s 2020 year-end report
  • Colorado has 1,245 cannabis farm licenses.
  • Colorado’s cannabis was valued at $1.03 billion last year.

Oregon

  • Oregon has an estimated 1,319 cannabis farm licenses, which produced 344 metric tons of cannabis last year.
  • The crop was valued at $602 million last year.
  • It’s the most valuable crop in Oregon, beating hay, wheat, potatoes, and cherries.

What’s a pound worth? 

Leafly found that using Nevada’s rules set forth by state regulators to be the most clear-cut way to break down just how much a pound is worth in the United States. 

Nevada taxes cannabis farmers according to a pre-set “Fair Market Value at Wholesale.” Flower is $2,398/lb, small bud is $1,696/lb, flower approved for extraction is $568, trim approved for extraction is $546, trim is $550, wet whole plant is $297, and immature plants are $51. Leafly rounded up and adapted Nevada’s numbers to create a per-pound formula. Every pound of dry, harvested cannabis yields: 

Flower, ½ pound: $2,400 x ½ = $1,200 

Smalls, ¼ pound: $1,700 x ¼ = $425 

Trim, ¼ pound: $550 x ¼ = $138 

Each harvested dry pound of cannabis equals $1,763 of wholesale crop value. 

Let’s treat cannabis farmers like other farmers

Cannabis farmers did not receive any of the $35 billion in emergency pandemic aid to American farmers in 2020, nor do they get to claim any of the $10 billion already given in usual farm subsidies, despite generating billions of dollars in legal revenue to U.S. states each year. 

  • There’s an entire council dedicated to iceberg lettuce in Arizona, but no such council or research group exists for cannabis, which is Arizona’s second most valuable crop generating $360 million in revenue each year.
  • Strawberry farmers pay no cultivation tax in California, unlike cannabis farmers who pay $9.65 per ounce just to cultivate. 
  • 19 towns have banned cannabis farming in New Jersey, including processing and retail. 

Leafly’s annual reports continue to shed light on the dollar value cannabis brings to state governments and communities, while simultaneously not being awarded the same benefits as other farmers in the United States. 

Kaitlin Domangue

Kaitlin is a cannabis reporter for the Green Market Report, covering every angle of the industry. She also works directly with cannabis brands as a content marketer.


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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