Pot, the Top Crop

The United States has a new number one cash crop, and growing it is illegal.

A new report shows the market value of marijuana produced in the U.S. is more than $35 billion. This surpasses any legal crop grown nationwide.

Arthurs Vickers has grown many crops as a farmer since 1941.

Arthurs said, "I grew peanuts, cotton, tobacco, corn, squash and all kinds of vegetables, beans and all of that."

None of those are worth as much as marijuana is these days. A recent report released by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that marijuana is the top crop produced in the United States with a market value exceeding $35 billion.

Marijuana beats out Florida's annual $1.2 billion citrus industry, sugar cane at $55 million, and tomatoes valued at a half of million.

Georgia's biggest legal cash crops are poultry worth $3.9 billion, fruits and vegetables valued at $1.1 million, and cotton at $723 million.

Law enforcement's fight against growing marijuana is ongoing.

Phil Kiracofe with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said, "As growers become more aware of some of our surveillance, ground and aerial techniques, that's had the tendency to now move their operation indoors, which presents us with some real challenges there."

Several weeks ago authorities busted a nine-home indoor pot growing operation between Suwannee and Columbia Counties.

Ten men were arrested. Cultivating marijuana can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on how much someone's caught with. Growers can face anything from probation to several years in jail and or several thousands of dollars in fines.

Last year there were almost 500 arrests made in Florida from indoor and outdoor cultivation and 65 in Georgia.


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