The Colorado pot industry is having a party. With stores beginning to legally sell marijuana for recreational use, the laws of supply and demand have taken over. Right now, with only a few dozen recreational shops in operation, legal supply is reasonably low. But demand is skyrocketing, and many stores say that they're already on the brink of selling out.
That means, as Bloomberg reports Monday, that marijuana dispensaries that are licensed to sell recreational pot are jacking up prices. An eighth of an ounce of medical pot has been going for around $25 in Colorado. Now, a recreational eighth is going for more like $45, roughly doubling the price.
That may sound like a steep increase. But for people who may be more accustomed to buying pot off the street, $45 is a deal worth taking.
In our nation's capital, a high-quality eighth is going for as much as $80 in 2014, according to Price of Weed, a self-proclaimed "global price index for marijuana." A medium-quality eighth in Colorado's neighbor, Wyoming, went for $60 this past December.
When you look at the price of a full ounce, things get a bit dicier. In Colorado, a recreational ounce of pot is now going for an average of $400, compared to $200 for medical. That's a pretty high number by most standards. The average price of a high-quality ounce in D.C. is $352.18, and nearly the same in New York. A high-quality ounce also goes for about $350 in Colorado border-states Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. The price is about $300 in Arizona, just under $300 in Utah and New Mexico, and just over $360 in Oklahoma.
That roughly $50 difference between the legal, recreational high-quality eighth and a high-quality eighth off the street may seem like a lot to some shoppers. But when you factor in risk, it's easy to imagine rationally paying that extra $50 for peace-of-mind and a bit more of a choice and quality-assurance in what kind of pot you're buying. And it can also be something of a time-suck to track down and purchase illegal pot, especially compared with the ease of just walking into a store.
Not to mention, the high current costs of recreational pot in Colorado are unlikely to last. "As more businesses open and the businesses get a sense of what the demand is and are able to meet it," the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association tells Bloomberg, "the prices will go back down."
The price of legal recreational pot in Colorado may never get as low as the price for medical marijuana. But that doesn't mean it won't quickly become a much better deal than you can get off the street.