The Cost of Colorado Pot May Be Doubling, but It’s Still Pretty Cheap

Although the price of marijuana in Colorado is rising, the drug is a bargain there compared with the illegal market.

A clearly excited man selects marijuana strains to purchase at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.
National Journal
Matt Berman
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Jan. 6, 2014, 6:47 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
11 HOUSE MEMBERS NOW BEHIND HIM
Two Committee Chairs Endorse Trump
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Two powerful House members—Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)—are throwing their support behind Donald Trump.

Source:
BUT WOULD HE THROW THE CHAIR?
Bobby Knight: Trump Would Drop the Bomb Just Like Truman
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
LAST PLACE
Trump Still Struggling for Endorsements
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
AT ISSUE: VENEZUELA SANCTIONS
Deal Struck to Confirm Ambassador to Mexico
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The United States is finally about to get an ambassador to Mexico. Senate Republicans who have been negotiating a way to confirm Roberta Jacobson as the nation’s top diplomat to Mexico have reached the contours of an agreement that would allow Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)—Jacobson’s chief obstacle—to secure renewed sanctions against Venezuela in exchange for lifting his objections."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Much Is Cleveland Paying for ‘Protest Insurance’ for the GOP Convention?
11 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Ten million dollars, plus another $1.5 million for the broker who will "develop and obtain" the policy. The concern: mass protests could lead to mass arrests, which could then lead to civil rights claims against the city.

Source:
×