California’s illegal marijuana crop is by far its biggest agricultural commodity, outpacing the next five top commodities combined, according to a Dec. 29, 2016, article in the Orange County Register.
Marijuana’s estimated value to California was $23.3 billion in 2015, the Register reported, basing its estimate on the number of seized plants.
State law allows citizens to have up to six marijuana plants for personal use, but retail sales of adult-use marijuana will not be allowed until 2018. So marijuana plants that do not meet state requirements are subject to confiscation by law enforcement. The Register’s researchers, drawing on the United Nations World Drug Report, assumed about 20 percent of the total number of plants were seized.
They calculated the value of legal agricultural commodities based upon cash farm receipt data from the Department of Food and Agriculture.
At second place, California’s milk production was valued at a mere $6.29 billion—about $17 billion behind the marijuana estimate.
The state’s almond crop came in third place, with $5.33 billion, followed by grapes ($4.95 billion), cattle and calves ($3.39 billion), and lettuce ($2.25 billion).
That makes the combined total value of California’s top five agricultural commodities after marijuana $22.21 billion.