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When Wine Isn't Enough of a Cash Crop, Grow Marijuana

grape_marijuana.jpgWho knows where this stuff comes from? Or why the first place I find out about it is some newspaper in the UK. But apparently times are tough for some grape growers in Washington state, so instead of putting the hard work in to grow wine grapes, they're turning to Marijuana instead. Or perhaps more accurately, they're selling out to friendly people who show up willing to pay cash for their vineyards.

Apparently several former vineyards have been converted to Ganja fields in the last year or two. But one has to wonder at the wisdom of such an approach given that due to their need for sun, most vineyards are quite exposed and easy to spot from the air. As in, easy to spot from a DEA helicopter.

Or maybe these folks are getting really savvy and they're just shooting for a sensimilla cover crop in between the rows. The stuff grows pretty quickly, maybe they're getting a full, um, harvest by the time the rows need to be cleared in the spring.

I'm reminded of a great song by Little Feat... "Just give me: weed, white sand, and wine, and I'll be willin'"

Read the full story.

Comments (13)

greg wrote:
08.10.08 at 2:19 AM

In a grapegrowing town called griffith in Australia, in the 1970's, some vineyards were owned by immigrants from calabria in Italy. With the help of corrupt police they had a thriving business growing dope in the vineyards.
I had cousins of high school age in Griffith at the time and they swore local kids were getting very good money as pickers.

Tom Aarons wrote:
08.10.08 at 3:12 AM

The Margaret River region in Western Australia, which produces a few of Australia's best, is also renowned for its weeds.

Have you stumbled on some kind of connection here?

rajiv wrote:
08.10.08 at 9:21 AM

I wonder if that changes the taste of the wine...
heck, I wonder if that changes the taste of the pot...

Pot brownies with pot wine, anyone?

Leroy wrote:
08.10.08 at 3:40 PM

Actually the Little Feat song is about a trucker and goes.."give me weed, whites, and wine, and show me a sign, and I'll be willin'..."
The whites being dexedrine, or speed.

Alder wrote:
08.10.08 at 4:27 PM

Ah, whites. That makes sense. I always thought the trucker was looking forward to a vacation in the tropics with weed and wine. Sigh. Thanks Leroy.

paul gregutt wrote:
08.10.08 at 8:16 PM

Alder, you make it sound as if Washington vineyards are so destitute that pot is the only viable crop. That is far from the truth. I would be far more worried about California than Washington as far as 21st century grapegrowing is concerned if I were you. Believe me, Washington is going to be just fine for the next century. Pot may be a sideline for a few entrepreneurs, but it is inconsequential as far as this state's wine industry is concerned.

Bad Lee Driven wrote:
08.11.08 at 8:16 AM

It's "Weed,Whites (cocaine), and Wine.. Not "white sand"

great freekin song

Alder wrote:
08.11.08 at 8:56 AM

Cocaine, Speed... Would you people from the Sixties figure out which drugs you're talking about please?!? Lowell George's spirit won't rest until you figure this out.

Leroy wrote:
08.11.08 at 10:18 PM

I'm right. ;)
I wonder what kind of wine he liked?

Harry wrote:
08.14.08 at 8:32 AM

Pot is by far the largest cash crop grown in either California or Washington. Although the stats are a few years old, check out NORML's state by state profiles online. Nearly $3.9 billion of weed was grown in CA verses $2.7 billion for the entire grape industry. In Washington, $262 million of weed was estimated verses $124 million of grapes. Obviously these are rough estimates, and the value of the pot is inflated due to prohibition, but people should seriously consider the potential for farming economies if this crop could be legally grown and taxed.

Nate wrote:
08.19.08 at 3:34 PM

Harry's right; take a look at the May 31 article about pot in Mendocino County ($1.5 bn crop) in the SF Chronicle or the "Dr. Kush" article in the July 28 New Yorker (focused on medical marijuana).

Anonymous wrote:
10.12.08 at 3:09 PM

Lol - yes it is true that MJ is the number 1 cash crop in the US. You can grow it but however you must need a licence. Here in the UK it also is a booming business - well booming illegal business especially with the use of hydroponic equipment. The sophistication growing MJ is so great that crops are now yielded with such high THC level that the government has had to ban it again.

The ban mean people who really need MJ now must go without it!

Anonymous wrote:
10.12.08 at 3:36 PM

Hi Harry - your stats are interesting and obviusly points out that more MJ was grown than grapes. However it would be more interesting if the amount of land used to grow each crop was available. If both crops used the same amount of land then you could conclude that more MJ was grown perhaps because of its harvesting cycle.

Correct me if I am wrong but the growth cycle for grapes is an annual cycle meaning one harvest every year?

Whereas when growing MJ you could probably get more than one harvest and that could also contribute to the larger amont of MJ grown.

"The study estimates that marijuana production, at a value of $35.8 billion, exceeds the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion)."

Well it is clear that the US business of growing MJ is big money, $35.8million in the back of their own soil yet they are trying to convict people like Marc Emery for selling MJ seeds..... they need to sort out their own problems in their back yard first!

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