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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Forget sugar in Hawai'i, pot's king

Advertiser Staff

Hawai'i ranks as the fourth-biggest marijuana growing state in the nation, according to a report from a researcher who advocates changing laws on the drug.

The report, Marijuana Production in the United States (2006), said pot is the state's leading agricultural crop, with an estimated 2.38 million pounds worth $3.82 billion being cultivated here. Only California, Tennessee and Kentucky have higher production, according to the study by marijuana public policy analyst Jon Gettman.

Marijuana has been talked about as one of the state's largest crops as sugar cane and pineapple production slip. But Hawai'i doesn't keep figures on marijuana production so there is no way of knowing if Gettman's study is accurate, said Mark Hudson, state statistician for the Hawai'i Department of Agriculture.

"We have no way to verify his conclusions because we don't collect the data," Hudson said.

Gettman's figures would indicate 250 acres are in marijuana production if each plant requires two square feet of space. The median farm size in Hawai'i is five acres.

Gettman's figures also show Hawai'i growers export more of their product than any other state. About 22 times more marijuana is grown here than is consumed locally.

Gettman is a proponent of dropping marijuana from the federal list of hard-core Schedule 1 drugs, which includes heroin and LSD.