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Domestic Cannabis Cultivation Assessment 2007
February 2007

Eradication Estimates

Precise estimates regarding the number of cannabis plants not eradicated during the most recent eradication season are not feasible, owing to many factors. The amount of marijuana cultivated in the primary states and counties is determined by three factors that are used to calculate the quantity of marijuana available in the United States: domestic cannabis eradication totals, cannabis plant yield estimates, and the effectiveness of cannabis eradication. Estimates vary greatly with respect to each of these critical factors. Therefore, a true and accurate point estimate of the amount of cannabis not eradicated within the primary cultivation states is not possible.

Although a precise estimate of cannabis not eradicated is not possible, general estimates can be made and ranges calculated using available eradication data. For example, in the model in Table 8,2 the total number of plants eradicated is derived by adding the estimated number of eradicated plants reported by Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP), Forest Service, and DOI. According to these sources, an estimated 6.3 million plants were eradicated in 2006. Assuming a plant yield of 1 pound per plant (448 grams), approximately 2,825 metric tons of potential marijuana were destroyed through domestic cannabis eradication in 2006. Law enforcement reporting indicates that eradication programs destroyed 30 to 50 percent of cannabis plants during the 2006 season. Based on these estimates and assumptions, between 2,825 and 6,592 metric tons of marijuana were not destroyed during 2006 (see Table 8).

Table 8. Estimated Number of Cannabis Plants Not Eradicated, 2006

  Cannabis Plants Eradicated, 2006 (mt) Potential Marijuana Eradicated (mt)
DCE/SP 4,486,755 2,010
USFS/DOI 1,818,447 815
Total 6,305,202 2,825
Eradication Rate=> 30% 40% 50%
Potential Marijuana Not Eradicated (mt) 6,592 (70%) 4,236 (60%) 2,825 (50%)

Combining known eradication statistics with estimates of cannabis not eradicated results in an estimate of total potential domestic cannabis cultivation ranging from 5,650 metric tons to 9,417 metric tons.

End Note

2 This model was adapted from the Marijuana Availability Model used by the Drug Availability Steering Committee.

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