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Originally published October 25 2010

California marijuana crop larger than grapes

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The battle rages on over the legalization of marijuana in California, but a new report from NBC in California's Bay Area brings up a very interesting point about its cultivation in the state. According to the report, the state's marijuana crop is valued at seven times the amount of its grape crop, which is could have a significant impact on the overall state economy if legalized.

As it stands, California's wine crop is valued at roughly $2 billion. But according to reports, the state's marijuana crop is valued at a staggering $14 billion. If legalized, advocates say this tremendously large new industry will create new jobs in various sectors, including in banking and construction.

"There's definitely a positive economic impact," said Robert Eyler, chairman of the economics department at Sonoma State University, in a recent Press Democrat article.

Many regions of California already rely on marijuana agriculture to fill the void of other industries that have since left town. According to reports, half of Mendocino County's economy, for instance, relies on marijuana cultivation to keep it going.

Early estimates by proponents of Proposition 13, the legislation that would legalize marijuana in California, claim that $1.4 billion in new tax revenue would be generated by the legalization of marijuana. Though advocates have since backed away from that figure to account for unknown variables, they still say that legalization would help California's dying economy improve dramatically.

Opponents worry that legalization could lead to out-of-control drug use among the general population. Some also say that criminal drug cartels could end up getting much of the new revenue if source standards are not properly put in place.

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