There are more people asking, ‘what does a pound of weed cost?,’ than ever, for a good reason. Cannabis is in so many products and is entering so many new American marketplaces, that it’s a commodity to folks who don’t even partake.
The pricing answer itself varies from region to region and is affected by multiple factors. As restrictions on cannabis lift in new territories, the landscape shifts for that area but has little affect nationwide.
420DC helps break down the importance behind large weed purchases coast to coast and explains how pricing on one coast can affect another. To that end, we sympathize with our brothers and sisters on the West Coast ravaged by wildfire.
For 35 million Americans, the price of a pound of weed determines the smallest gram buy. Like crude to the cost of gas, cannabis is treated as a commodity and traded as futures through online cannabis exchanges, sold by the pound.
To answer ‘what does a pound of weed cost?,’ one just has to find a cannabis ticker. Prices are set in real time for individual strains and specific grows (outdoor, indoor, greenhouse, etc.) region by region.
These cannabis exchanges recorded 2019 as a record $52B year in America, even though the price of a pound of weed dropped 12% at harvest. That was 29.9M pounds of herb bought, sold, smoked and/or manufactured.
Weedanomics: What affects the price of weed?
The wholesale weed-by-the-pound factors determining the price of that $20 dispensary gram are wide ranging. The quality of the bud is a factor from seed to shelf. That’s why outdoor grows get less per pound than indoor grows which are typically primo hydro grows.
Legalization is also another factor determining ‘what does a pound of weed cost?.’ For the poor remaining states without any marijuana reform, prices are higher just for the risk factor. But even legal weed has restrictions and how they are enforced also affects the price of a pound.
When weed is allowed and the cops aren’t busting anyone, there’s still major hassles from other bureaucracies from banking to permitting. And of course, the government has a way of putting a damper even on weed.
The single greatest factor affecting how much is a pound of weed is taxes. The Federal government slaps a punitive tax on recreational cannabis while refusing the industry the right to officially exist legally, get tax breaks and even pay taxes in anything but cash.
Money the government collects contributes to how much is a pound of weed. Those funds should insure important infrastructure projects to protect the industry, but sometimes things are out of the hands of the cultivators and money men.
Any agribusiness is affected by nature and how favorable conditions are to each grow. As a pandemic, raging wildfires and ongoing blackouts can attest, even indoor growers can be impacted by nature.
What was once strictly an underground transaction has gone mainstream. Now people who love cannabis as well as those who just love money have entered the industry. Competition is fierce in already saturated markets which lowers the price of what does a pound of weed cost.
Supply & demand
It’s the master of market economics- how badly people want something and what they are willing to spend to get it. I don’t need to tell you how badly weed was wanted in this country. How much is a pound of weed is always on our minds and the prices reflect that.
Black market weed
As more states enter the legal cannabis community, black market weed continues to flourish. Since the law makes criminals of some and not others, the need for illegal weed continues to exist, a pound of street weed is usually cheaper than a dispensary.
Tax money that could benefit everyone ends up funding illegal grows, so it’s a lost opportunity for the government and an advantage for the black market. Despite the majority of Americans supporting cannabis reform, congress has ever moved on obvious legislation.
A pound of legal weed costs more than money. It’s overly taxed and under represented by the government. The legal industry is hobbled by permitting delays, bureaucratic red tape and unrealistic restrictions.
And while the nature of 21st Century legal weed is still less than a decade old, the black market has been in existence for millenia and is more stable than retail. Illegal prices somewhat follow the legal weed market.
While prohibition lasts for any of our brothers and sisters, the cannabis movement will always have a shadowy side.
Wholesale weed price history
Every year since cannabis reform got started in 2012, profits have risen. As more and more states enact cannabis reform, the legal pool gets a little bigger and the illegal pool a bit smaller. Market fluctuations affect how much is a pound of weed, which remains a steady commodity.
After more than five years, the oldest adult-use state, Colorado, was expecting a slowdown. Everything in 2019, despite it being a record year, indicated supply outpacing demand and an eventual drop in prices.
Bargain hunters in Oregon and Washington were able to scoop up the end of 2018’s harvest for $500 a pound or less for fair-grade, outdoor grown weed. What people expected at the end of 1029 was how much is a pound of weed would continue to decline.
Wholesale marijuana grows
Cannabis of every grade; middling, fair and good; went the opposite direction. Because what people didn’t expect from 2020 was every standard being thrown out the window. Now how much is a pound of weed has more than one reason it’s growing.
There was such a glut in the market last year that many farmers growing flower for THC switched over to CBD-oriented hemp. Then, a pandemic swept across the world and stayed longer in America than any other nation.
Cannabis has been mentioned as an actual treatment for COVID-19 for its therapeutic qualities without side effects. How much is a pound of weed was certainly on the minds of many as supply chains were ravaged and wildfires blazed.
Pandemic made weed ‘essential’
Every state with recreational weed has seen a boom in 2020 unlike many industries. And while regional markets perform independent of one another, the industry has thrived across the board in 2020 from coast to coast, one state at a time.
The oldest adult-use market, Colorado, has seen weeks of record-breaking sales. Illinois, a brand new legal state, had a record $95.5M August 2020 sales outpacing the five-year-old Oregon market. And Oregon itself is up 30% from this time last year.
Perhaps the biggest news of all is California, wracked with permitting problems, just approved 100 new stores which will only increase sales in the largest market in the world.
Average wholesale marijuana price per pound
A U.S. Spot Index for the Week Ending 11/9/2020 gives national averages:
- Median average wholesale price per pound of marijuana- $1650
- Average wholesale price per pound for recreational- $1600
- Average wholesale price per pound for medical- $1,800
- Average Wholesale price per pound rose slightly (rather than predicted decline)
- Average greenhouse ($1,350),
- Average Indoor ($1,900)
- Average Outdoor ($750)
Marijuana price per pound by grow type
Average Quality (Week ending 11/9/2020)
- $1500 – $2,000 (CA, CO, OR)
- $1250 (WA)
- $2,125 (NV, AZ, NM)
- $2,500 (OK)
- $2,250 (ME)
- $2,750 (MI)
- >$3,000 (CT, DC, RI, VT, NH, AK)
- >$4,000 (IL, MA)
Pound of weed costs by state (11/9/2020)
|District of Columbia||Dispensary – Medical||$850|
|Dispensary – Recreational||$2,000|
|Street – Medical||Low – $1950
Med – $2,223
High – $2,317
|Street – Recreational||Low – $1900
Med – $1,959
High – $2,317
|New York||Dispensary – Medical||Low – $1,000
High – $2,400
|Street – Medical||Low – $1,300
Med – $2,441
High – $2,876
|Street – Recreational||Low – $1,660
Med – $2,383
High – $2,528
|Dispensary – Recreational||Med – $1,800
High – $1,800
|New Jersey||Dispensary – Medical||N/A|
|Dispensary – Recreational||$3,400|
|Street – Medical||Low – $2,000
Med – $1,600
High – $1,600
|Street – Recreational||Low – $1,600
Med – $2,383
High – $2,500
|Illinois||Dispensary – Medical||High – $2,000|
|Dispensary – Recreational||Med – $2,000
High – $1,700
|Street – Medical||Low – $2,000
Med – $1,831
High – $1,803
|Street – Recreational||Low – $1,637
Med – $1,855
High – $1,785
|California||Dispensary – Medical||Low – $1,545
Med – $1,585
High – $2,202
|Dispensary – Recreational||Low – $1,875
Med – $1,332
High – $1,827
|Street – Medical||Low – $1,604
Med – $1,546
High – $1,962
|Street – Recreational||Low – $1,515
Med – $1,559
High – $1,962
|Colorado||Dispensary – Medical||Low – $3,000
Med – $1,612
High – $1,584
|Dispensary – Recreational||Low – $2,302
Med – $1,575
High – $1,990
|Street – Medical||Low – $1,200
Med – $1,200
High – $2,160
|Street – Recreational||Low – $2,500
Med – $1,866
High – $1,385
|Washington||Dispensary – Medical||High – $1,600|
|Dispensary – Recreational||Med – $2,250|
|Street – Medical||High – $2,100|
|Street – Recreational||Low – $200
Med – $933
High – $1,600
Everyone thought weed would wane. Even as new states legalize cannabis and the industry gets larger, weed has been a very stable commodity since the dawn of time. But that’s not to say there aren’t market fluctuations that affect prices.
And 2020 is certainly the year of change, even for the cannabis industry. The perfect storm of events- a glut the previous year; a major switch to hemp for CBD; wildfires that burn for months damaging countless plants with ash, soot and smoke; and a pandemic that’s ravaged supply chain, manpower and critical infrastructure.
Weed’s price per pound is rising
Cannabis being declared essential nationwide was a blessing for the industry and its customers during stressful times of lockdowns. So, ‘how much is a pound of weed’ really depends on the factors we’ve discussed; quality, legalization, competition, supply, demand, nature and more.
Remember, the chain of events unfolding in the last months of 2020 will reveal if California has enough undamaged legal weed to meet demand. Supply is already outpacing demand there which is why the first average wholesale pound of marijuana sold for $3,400 in October.
So if you can find out how much does a pound of weed cost, grab it if the price is right. It might just get you through the end of the pandemic.