Making a hash of it man!


The problem is that if you are a farmer, it sort of sticks with you. You don’t stop being one just because you’re asleep, on holiday, or reading facebook.  Anyway I saw a post of a friends facebook page saying how much money would be generated in the economy if we legalised marijuana. So of course I just had to sit down to do the maths, but from the farmer’s point of view.


It’s interesting trying to get any decent economic figures. First I tried to look for how much marijuana the average user uses (by weight). It’s the sort of thing you need to measure the size of your market. Now there are a lot of figures quoted but people tend to quote the proportion of the population who use the stuff or the estimated financial value of stuff seized.


What I did discover was that the average joint apparently contains 0.32gms


Not only that, but apparently the average US user smokes 123 joints per year


So it’s possible to estimate the size of the market, but what about output?

Apparently you can get 500gms per plant growing outdoors


The trouble with articles like that is that they regard individual plants as precious. On an agricultural scale you wouldn’t be worried about yield per plant; you’d be worried about yield per acre.

Looking for a comparison, if I was planting industrial hemp then it’s common to use 10cm spacings between rows. So there you could be looking at about 300 plants be square meter. Obviously growing for marijuana you might sow for a lower crop density. Perhaps aiming at 30 plants a square meter.  But here I’m just guessing, because whilst 30 plants per square meter might optimise marijuana output per plant, at 300 plants per square meter you might still get as much marijuana, but also a valuable fibre crop as well.

But let’s stick with 30 plants per square meter.

First, assuming that each plant only produces half the marijuana it does when being cosseted inside, that’s 30 x 250gms which is 7.5kg per square meter. In marketing terms, that’s 23,438 joints.

All in all this is enough to last 190 average consumers the full year.
Now the Home Office produced figures which show that 2.1 million people in the UK use the stuff. Now obviously they won’t all smoke the full 123 joints a year. But if it’s legal others might try it and users might smoke more. So let’s have all 2.1 million people smoking 123 joints. So the estimated market is 258,300,000 joints which needs 11020 square meters to grow on. This is just over a hectare, not quite three acres.

Even if I’m an order of magnitude out, or even two orders of magnitudes out, we’re only talking about somewhere between three and three hundred acres.


Legalise marijuana in the UK and I suspect in 10 years, it’ll just be part of the fibre hemp industry. Growers planting varieties which will produce marijuana and if Tesco and Asda are willing to pay a reasonable price then more will go for processing. As for price, it’s suddenly an agricultural commodity; it’ll be so cheap that in some years farmers will plough it back in because it’s not worth harvesting.

But then we get VAT and excise duty. At the moment three quarters of the price of a bottle of cheap whisky goes to the government. The various consumer taxes on legal marijuana could be the money tree our political parties are looking for.


But cheaper than anything you can smoke, and probably every bit as addictive 😉


As a reviewer commented, “Tallis, the well-respected (he says) Port Naain poet, becomes embroiled in a bit of sedan chair racing, with all its associated betting and a side order of bullying and corruption. He is helping to arrange a large social gathering to introduce a widow to the social circle and we see how important it is to have a resourceful poet on the task.”


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14 thoughts on “Making a hash of it man!

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt July 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply

    To say nothing of saving money by not jailing people who are producing it or smoking it now.

    On the other hand, what about all those drivers wandering around on the street with drugs which impair their ability to think (have you ever listened to someone on pot?).


    • jwebster2 July 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm Reply

      Don’t worry I have no doubt that government can manage to jail people for growing it without paying excise duty.
      But then you see government will be being virtuous because it’s tackling tax frauds who’re stealing money from the NHS 🙂

  2. rootsandroutes2012 July 27, 2017 at 5:46 am Reply

    Donald Trump (assuming he can write at all) will have square meters. Surely in South Cumbria we have square metres… or did I miss us losing a race against Puerto Rico?

    • jwebster2 July 27, 2017 at 6:06 am Reply

      I’ve always found the re ending irritating. 🙂
      Not only that but in this case all the information I found was in American sources, I’ve tended to stick with their measurements

  3. rootsandroutes2012 July 27, 2017 at 6:27 am Reply

    There is a legitimate use of ‘meter’, Jim. It’s a tool you use for taking measurements. So Rita and I would use an odometer to tell us how many metres we’d cycled along the coast road.

    • jwebster2 July 27, 2017 at 7:19 am Reply

      to me the fading of the re ending is just another example of the English taking a foreign word and anglicising it. Words drift down the centuries, the Latin comprehendere apparently became comprendere in later latin, to comprendre in French. We took that and a couple more roots and seem to have made comprehend out of it 🙂
      Remember the arguments in the 1960s over whether the aircraft should be called Concord or Concorde 🙂

  4. rootsandroutes2012 July 27, 2017 at 8:25 am Reply

    Ah well, you see I was in primary school in the Concord/e days, and not tuned in to the arguments. I’ve got no objection to the development of the English language – that would be to stand with King Canute (well it wouldn’t actually, but that’s another story). In this instance the ‘re’ ending and the ‘er’ ending create different words with distinct, if not unrelated meanings, as illustrated above.

    • jwebster2 July 27, 2017 at 8:45 am Reply

      Never forget that metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. (and music) (apparently derived from the same Greek μετρέω (metreo) meaning measure count, compare. But also gave rise to a ‘measured response’ )
      So all three uses of metre/meter are from the same original Greek, it’s just that the meter that does your measuring for you has split off and been anglicised (or perhaps Americanized) first
      Given the dominance of scientific papers written in American English for publication, I suspect the meter as a yard plus a bit will also assume dominance. Metre in poetry and music might stay longer with the re, and might keep it entirely

  5. rootsandroutes2012 July 27, 2017 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Far be it from me to argue with a man who knows his Greek! On another forum I’d like to argue the toss with someone who doesn’t understand the use of onoma in Sunday evening’s reading from Acts… but I don’t know how to type the text 😦

    • jwebster2 July 27, 2017 at 2:50 pm Reply

      I cannot type Greek, but I can copy and paste it 🙂
      Google is my friend.
      My knowledge of the language is extremely
      limited and doesn’t extend to pronunciation 🙂

  6. M T McGuire July 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm Reply

    I love this. I am pretty much convinced that entrepreneurs and writers have a very similar type of imagination, they just do different things with it.



    • jwebster2 July 30, 2017 at 3:46 pm Reply

      You could be right. A lot of the more exuberant/extrovert writers do seem to manage to be ostentatiously entrepreneurial as well as creative, whilst I’d suggest that entrepreneurs are almost by definition creative 🙂

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