The sheriff of the county where the farm was found says that they seized about 50,000 plants, but the Wisconsin Attorney General says that while still counting, they had about 10,000 plants, and he says that each plant might be worth about $1,000.
Just think what would have happened if they had just given away the plants instead of destroying them. It would have reduced the income of the drug dealers by from $10,000,000 to $50,000,000.
In 2008 the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized or destroyed 7.6 million marijuana plants. At $1000 each, that's $7.6 trillion dollars. If given away, that would have been an equal reduction in the drug dealers profits and would be a really good reason to go out of business.
Just the direct law enforcement cost for the war on drugs runs about $40 to $50 billion a year. You could grow a lot of marijuana for only $1 billion. You could probably grow all the marijuana used in the US for $100 million, or 2/1000 of the cost to prevent the marijuana drug trade.
The reason illegal drugs are expensive is because they are illegal. The reason there's an expensive war on drugs is because they are illegal. Change that illegal to legal and the expensive war on drugs is eliminated, and spend the $100 million instead of $50 billion to grow the marijuana and give it away and you completely eliminate drug dealers of any kind, legal or illegal.
People use marijuana for various reasons, some for pleasure, some for medicinal, some for the hell of it, and some only because it's illegal. If we're honest, just about all of us can remember being young and stupid and doing things judged to be illegal just to see if we could get away with it, thus making us very cool.
Well, if they grew marijuana and gave it away, and it became as common as a head of lettuce, no one would think there's anything special about it. In fact, there wouldn't be anything special about it.
I think there's a very good case to be made that if drugs were legal and free, that overall drug use would go down. No one's going to be interested in anything that's as common as hog tracks.