As more states across the country are legalizing recreational marijuana it is becoming easier to access pot whenever you want it. The question becomes less about where to buy pot and more about marijuana prices. How much does weed cost? What determines the price tag, and what should you expect when you pop into a dispensary ready to make a purchase.
It can be hard to know if the price is right when it comes to weed. In the past, before legalization, most people bought their pot from a guy who knows a guy and whatever price you were offered was the price you paid. But now that cannabis is legal in 29 states, it’s also more regulated both in terms of dosage and potency and in terms of weed cost.
Marijuana Prices are Tracked, and They’re Going Down
According to the U.S. Cannabis Spot Index, which monitors the cost per pound of weed, “the spot price index for a pound of cannabis fell 4.3% to $1,553” as of June 2017. That might not mean anything to you, because as an average patron walking into a dispensary you most likely aren’t buying pounds of weed. But the cost per pound does impact the cost of every mason jar or edible you choose to buy.
According to the analysts at Cannabis Benchmark, the declining costs are probably due to a few key factors across the country. First of all, with more growers legally producing marijuana, more dispensaries opening up in legalized states, and more people growing their own at home, there is oversupply. In addition, production costs are going down in some markets, making it cheaper to make pot, and therefore cheaper to buy it.
The Laws of Supply and Demand Impact Marijuana Prices
If something is rare it costs more to get your hands on that limited supply. In the most basic terms, marijuana prices are a perfect example of the laws of supply and demand. The fact that there is an increasing supply in states all over the U.S. and consumption is also going up means that prices are going down.
So, how do you know if your weed is too expensive? First of all, you need to recognize that marijuana prices vary from state to state. Local laws differ in every state, and demand is also different depending on what city and state you live in. According to the 2018 Cannabis Price Index, a study compiled by Seedo and reported by Bloomberg News, the cost per gram of weed is currently cheapest in Seattle (an average of $7.58 per gram) and is far more expensive in Washington D.C. ($18.08 per gram). In Denver, the cost is also fairly low on average (not surprising considering the booming pot industry and access to marijuana everywhere you go). In Philadelphia, Boston and New York City it’s a higher dollar price per gram.
There are some resources that also help monitor and report the street value of cannabis based on consumer reported price tags. Priceofweed.com crowd sources this information, listing the reported prices for low quality and high quality pot, which can range on average from $170 per ounce all the way up to $600 per ounce based on where you live and what the going rates are.
The Black Market Still Exists, and it is Still Thriving
When Colorado first legalized marijuana, legal dispensaries sold cannabis products at lower costs than black market dealers, in an effort to incentivize the sale and consumption of regulated, legal pot production. But more recently black market prices are becoming more competitive, making it more appealing to buy from an alternative (and not a legalized) vendor. According to Tawnie Logan, chairwoman of the board of the California Growers Association, in an article in the NY Times, “the black market price for an eighth of an ounce of marijuana is around $20, compared with $50 in dispensaries.”
More demand, more supply, cheaper black market prices… you do the math.
As with any commodity, marijuana prices are constantly changing as the market, the law and the country change. And considering how uncertain the future is for legalized recreational marijuana, the price tag of weed is something you’ll need to keep your eye on. Do your research, explore all of your local options, and be a smart consumer if you want to make sure you’re not getting ripped off, and you’re getting the best, safest, highest quality product possible.
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