Marijuana News Roundup: California’s Cannabis Crop Worth $23 Billion

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The value of California’s marijuana crop in 2015 has been estimated at $23.3 billion. That’s more than the combined value of the state’s next five largest crops. And that’s before recreational use was approved by voters in November and 2 years before recreational use is expected to be implemented.

Because growing pot for anything but medicinal use is illegal in California, the estimate of the crop’s value was based on the number of plants seized from federal lands. According to the Orange County Register, federal agents seized 2.64 million marijuana plants from national forests in California in 2015.

A United Nations report estimated that global law enforcement agencies seized 10% to 20% of produced drugs in 2015. Using that as a base, California would have had a total of 13.2 million plants. If each plant produced a (conservative) one pound of cannabis and it sold for $1,765 per pound, the total value would have been $23.3 billion.

The highest estimate we’ve seen for the value of California’s marijuana crop following legalization is that it will total $6.5 billion in 2020. But that’s only for legal, in-state medicinal and recreational use. We leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out where the rest of it goes.

Health Insurers Won’t Cover Medical Marijuana in North Dakota

North Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved the legalization of medical marijuana, and lawmakers are grappling with launching the program. But patients are about to learn that legalization does not mean insurance will cover the cost.

Major health insurers in North Dakota have said they will not provide coverage for medical marijuana, which voters approved in the November election by a margin of almost 64 percent, citing what they say is inadequate evidence of its effectiveness.

“We don’t cover it in Minnesota nor will we in North Dakota,” said Greg Bury, senior manager for public relations at Medica. “We don’t believe the efficacy has yet been established.”

Medica’s policy, Bury said, is to “look for evidence-based literature and studies that demonstrate safety, effectiveness and effect on health outcomes.”

Thus far, he said, Medica believes that evidence is lacking to justify coverage of medical marijuana.

Read more at The Bismarck Tribune.