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 »
BAD NEWS FOR CLINTON
Trump and Clinton Equally Disliked
11 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally disliked. The poll, conducted between July 18 and July 25, shows both major party candidates for president are viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 58 percent of respondents. This poll is bad news for Clinton, who has received better favorable and unfavorable ratings in nearly every poll over the last year.

Source:
VP PICK TAKES DIFFERENT TONE THAN TRUMP
Pence: “Serious Consequences” if Russia Hacked DNC
53 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

The same day that Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack the State Department and "find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee for vice president took a more serious approach. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences," Pence said in a statement. Trump's comments at a press conference this morning were rebuked by individuals across the political spectrum, while some on Trump's team, including prominent surrogate Newt Gingrich, have called his comments a "joke."

Source:
ECONOMY STABILIZING
Fed Leaves Rates Alone, but Signals Hikes to Come
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Federal Open Market Committee today voted to leave interest rates alone, but "upgraded its assessment of the economy’s recent performance and said near-term risks to the outlook have diminished, effectively leaving the door open to raise rates later this year, possibly as early as September."

Source:
CHARM OFFENSIVE
Pence Is Trump’s Man on Capitol Hill
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.

Source:
PAUL RYAN: STOP IT
Trump Encourages More Spying by Russia
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump essentially encouraged more Russian espionage against Democrats in a press conference this morning. "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” That prompted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan to say: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”

Source:
×