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Cannabis intended for recreational consumption comes in several different grades ranging in price from $10 a pound for compressed bricks of seedy Mexican hemp flowers purchased near the source up to $3,500 a pound for manicured colas grown indoors by farmers who produce small crops. That same $3,500 pound can be sold to consumers for up to $25 a gram, meaning that pound's street value if sold by the gram is in the neighborhood of $11,000.
But, the case in point is the series of raids this summer, which authorities claimed netted 138 pounds of cannabis from 340,000 plants. Since they raided in August, the plants they took were immature, not yet having set their flowering tops or colas, the portion of the plant used as a drug, and at least half would have been male plants that produce nothing. Had those plants, which represent less than 10 percent of the county's entire crop, survived to maturity they would have yielded somewhere in the neighborhood of three-quarters to one pound per plant or about 150,000 total pounds of low- to mid-grade cannabis which would have been valued at something like $500 to $1,000 a pound depending on how far east it was sold and in what quantities for an estimated net sale price of conservatively $75,000,000. Factor in the percentage of undetected crops and we see the county's illicit outdoor cannabis crop can conservatively be valued at $750 million in initial sales. End-user sales and indoor gardens would raise this number considerably, and it would not be unreasonable to place a value of Tulare County's current cannabis industry at $1 billion, all of it untaxed.
Let me isolate that statement for effect: Tulare County is currently home to a $1,000,000,000 unregulated, untaxed industry that our elected officials are actively and ineffectually attempting to eradicate at the taxpayers' expense, thus depriving the county and state of at least $80,000,000 in annual sales-tax revenues while they charge us for the privilege.
Think about that when you read we cannot afford to fund rural health clinics or that our schools are in need of repair or that we can't afford rural fire stations or if you live along or must drive ill-maintained county roads or if you're one of the thousands of unemployed or are affected by that unemployment or if you or one of your family members is considered an outlaw because they use cannabis or if you think it's wrong to destroy Yokohl Valley in the hopes of generating a tenth the revenue cannabis could provide the moment it is legalized.
We are starving to death and considering cannibalism while surrounded by delectable fruits hanging from the vine and ripe for the picking. That's genuine Reefer Madness.
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