1. HOME
  2.  | 
  3. Industry
  4.  | 
  5. Agriculture
  6.  | Study: Cannabis Tops All Alaska Crops

Study: Cannabis Tops All Alaska Crops

Nov 3, 2021 | Agriculture, News

Engdao Wichitpunya | Dreamstime.com

Move over, hay. Alaska has a new top-selling cash crop, by a lot. Cannabis has a greater wholesale value than all other agricultural commodities in the state combined, according to a study by marijuana hub website Leafly.

A Growing Industry

The study is the first of its kind, mostly because the federal ban on marijuana prevents the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) from tracking the crop like it does corn or soybeans. Leafly’s editors teamed up with cannabis industry consultant Whitney Economics to calculate the cash value of the marijuana harvest in eleven states where the drug is legalized, approximating the same methods the USDA uses to measure the value of other crops.

For Alaska, the study puts the value of the marijuana harvest, as of the end of the fiscal year in June 2021, at $104 million. That dwarfs the $9 million for hay, $1 million for barley, and about $30 million for all other produce and livestock farmed in Alaska.

Current Issue

Alaska Business May 2022 Cover

May 2022

Year round, under artificial lights, 356 licensed growers in Alaska raised twenty-one metric ton cannabis for the annual harvest. To calculate the wholesale value, Leafly had to estimate the dried, cured bud, the most common form sold and taxed through legal retailers. The study does not encompass non-consumable hemp.

Among the eleven states with legal marijuana industries, the study found cannabis is the top cash crop in five of them: Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon. Nationwide, the study’s estimate of cannabis wholesale value of $6.2 billion exceeds the totals for cotton, rice, or peanuts. Only corn, soybeans, hay, and wheat are bigger cash crops.

The study notes that the nation’s 13,042 cannabis farms are still subject to restrictions due to federal law criminalizing the drug. Growers are shut out of farm subsidies and crop insurance, and financial transactions are mostly cash only.

Industry Sponsor

Become an Industry Sponsor

Alaska Business April 2022 cover

In This Issue

Colorless Green Ammonia Sleeps Furiously
May 2022
Hydrocarbons are a two-edged sword. One edge is hydrogen, storing energy like wound-up springs that is released when combusted with oxygen. The other edge is the carbon atoms the hydrogen is bonded to, which in the grip of oxygen become a climate-warming veil of carbon dioxide gas. Petroleum under the North Slope and methane under Cook Inlet have both potentials: productive energy from hydrogen and destructive pollution from carbon. In a decarbonizing global market, Alaska needs a way to separate the good from the bad.
Share This