Legal Cannabis is America’s 6th Biggest Cash Crop

Crop Annual Wholesale Value
1. Corn $82.6 billion
2. Soybeans $57.5 billion
3. Hay $19.3 billion
4. Wheat $11.9 billion
5. Cotton $7.5 billion
6. Cannabis $5 billion


Cannabis is a top cash crop in states where it’s legal, but you’d never know it by the shoddy treatment of America’s cannabis farmers.

  • None of the 15 legal states included in the Leafly Harvest Report (read it here- https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/how-much-weed-grown-us-2022 ) officially list cannabis among their top agricultural commodities.
  • Even though marijuana is the No. 1 crop in Alaska, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, regulators in two of those states don’t even publish production totals, let alone celebrate the accomplishments of those farmers.
  • The stigma created by 85 years of prohibition and government funded propaganda continues to fuel this bias. That has real consequences for cannabis farmers, who must overcome significant barriers faced by no other growers.

Here are a few examples of the roadblocks America’s cannabis farmers continue to face.

Federal-level cannabis farm discrimination:

  • Criminalization
    • Cannabis remains federally illegal.
    • Cultivating a single plant remains a felony that can result in arrest, prosecution, and a five-year federal prison sentence.
    • This is despite the fact that cannabis is now legal in 19 states and sold under state license in 15 states.
    • Gallup polls put support for full legalization at 68%, while 91% of all Americans support the legal use of medical marijuana.
    • Federal prohibition has no reason to continue, and yet it does.
  • No banking or loans available
    • Federal marijuana prohibition affects every cannabis farmer’s ability to perform the most basic functions of a business: to keep bank accounts, obtain crop insurance, and get loans.
    • Cannabis farmers also report trouble obtaining personal mortgages and car loans due to the crop they choose to grow.
  • Over-taxation
    • Cannabis businesses are crushed every year by Section 280E of the IRS Tax Code, designed to punish illegal drug dealers. Cannabis businesses have an effective tax rate of 70%.
  • No disaster relief
    • In May, the Biden administration offered $6 billion in disaster relief to farmers all across America. But legal state-licensed cannabis farmers—who saw their crops destroyed by wildfires—won’t see a penny of it.
  • They remain ineligible for all forms of federal aid.
    • “Marijuana is a controlled substance, and therefore is not eligible for federal farm programs,” a USDA spokesperson explained. Tobacco, soybean, and cotton farmers were eligible, but not farmers growing legal cannabis.