With the medical and recreational legalization of cannabis in many states, regulations had to be created to manage the product. For instance, products must be labeled so that a customer is aware of what percentage of THC or CBD a product contains in some states. In some, but not all, states, everything used in the cultivation process must also be listed on the packaging. These regulations govern dispensaries as well as grow operations.
Despite all of these regulations, one thing that is not being regulated: price.
Legal Weed Prices
In fact, pricing is something that is all over the place and difficult to pin down. Each grower and dispensary supplying a local area may have a very different concept of supply and demand. For example, the same strain that is priced at $65 for a quarter ounce in California only costs $60 per quarter ounce in Colorado, and there’s no guarantee that they are the exact same strain.
Quality may be one of the bigger factors in the pricing game, but numerous other factors can cause the price to go up or down. Terpenes, THC content, and whether the plant was grown indoors or outdoors can also factor into the price paid by the consumer. Even after all of these factors are considered, even in states where recreational marijuana is legal, the black market is still a consideration.
Another factor preventing the regulation of pricing is that, federally, marijuana still remains illegal. There is not a national system in place to differentiate the pricing between different strains – like there is between different species of apples. Grocers buy bushels of Gala and Granny Smith apples separately, at their respective prices. Currently, there is no such system in place for cannabis.
Also, while states may regulate that THC and CBD content be clearly labeled, there are no federal regulations governing a consumer actually getting what the packaging says. A product may be labeled OG Kush, and it may be OG Kush, but it could also be a hybrid strain that merely resembles OG Kush.
Competition is another driving factor in the pricing game. In large cities like Denver, Seattle, or Portland where there are a lot of dispensaries, they will compete for your dollar by trying to out price one another. However, move to the smaller cities which may only have one or two dispensaries and they can raise prices. Are all those dispensaries selling popular vaporizers making a statistical impact? And how are prices compared with other countries?
Another factor governing the wildly varying cost of cannabis is whether you are a recreational or a medical consumer. Dispensaries that cater towards medical patients often sell at a lower rate than a strictly recreational dispensary.
Quantity as Deciding Factor in the Price
Aligning with simple economics, the more that you buy, the better the price becomes. In dispensaries, prices usually begin by the gram, selling at about $10-$15. An eighth, which is 3.5 grams, you are looking to pay an average of $35-$50, with some strains costing more. Moving up to a quarter ounce or 7 grams, you are looking at a price of between $70-90 for a quarter. A half ounce (14 grams) will cost you about $120-$150. When it comes to full ounces, dispensaries run various deals ranging from $99 to start and ranging up to $300 in Colorado.
Venturing out to different states, even those with legal marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, pricing varies wildly. Oregon has the cheapest - $210 an ounce for high-quality cannabis. Coming in at most expensive is the District of Columbia, with a price per ounce of $610. The U.S. average for a price of high-quality cannabis is around $320. Recreational legality did have a part to play in that the states where cannabis is legal recreationally were typically the states with the lowest prices.
Marijuana pricing will likely continue to vary wildly and few in the game look forward to what government intervention may do in the event that cannabis is legalized nationally. Right now, it is very much a free market and few insiders are excited about the possibility of government-regulated pricing.
About Michael Jacobs: Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points.