While I have nothing but my gut to go on – yet – I wonder if the trend of state by state legalization first of medical marijuana and now pot sales in general will lead smaller-scale farmers to shift out of specialty crops (fruits and veggies) and into the more profitable weed. And whether eventually mid-scale growers will go for increased profits.
Shifting big ag to big corn ethanol production resulted in food shortages. Will marijuana be so profitable that current producers shift, and that speculators view land with potential of marijuana production a new place to store money? If so, will agricultural land prices go up, further squeezing small scale land-poor producers out of farming all together? This isn’t just speculation on my part (intellectual for now). With publication of Blessing the Hands that Feed Us I’m on the hunt for answers to scaling up local food. Land prices are certainly one choke point. Will this get even more dire as pot farming becomes more attractive?
Currently new and young farmers can’t afford land because prices are driven up by the wealthy for homes and horse farms. Agricultural land trusts valiantly try to buck this trend by raising money and buying land.
What do you think?
Here they say marijuana production is draining water-challenged Northern California’s scant water resources.
Here’s an older study showing how marijuana a decade ago yielded more dollars per acre than any other crop.
No one really knows the implications as this article points out.