- The Weed Blog https://www.theweedblog.com

Customers Are Willing To Pay For Licensed, Regulated And Legal Cannabis

marijuana retail store

via Drug Policy Allliance

There are now two states that permit legal recreational cannabis sales. Those two states of course are Colorado and Washington. Colorado has been authorizing legal recreational cannabis sales since January 1, 2014. Washington started legal recreational cannabis sales on July 8, 2014.

One thing that stands out to long time cannabis consumers are the prices for legal recreational cannabis. On opening day in Colorado, prices climbed as high as $100 for 3.5 grams of cannabis. Prices have since lowered as more supply has hit the market in Colorado. On opening day in Washington, the highest prices I saw were around $25 per gram. Compare those prices to estimated black market prices, which can be as low as $5 per gram in some areas for similar quality product.

A lot of people wondered if the high prices would deter people from purchasing legal recreational cannabis. Fortunately for tax revenue and supporters of the emerging legal cannabis industry, high prices don’t seem to bother customers. One quote I read from Oregonian reporter Noelle Crombie’s Twitter account stated that a guy named Mark Edwards would ‘smoke a bowl for schools any time.’ Noelle Crombie was at Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, Washington to report on their opening.

While I’d like to see prices lower than $25 per gram, I’m glad that customers see the benefit of supporting legal, regulated cannabis businesses rather than the black market. Supporting legal cannabis retailers supports hardworking Americans, schools, and public safety. When someone buys cannabis on the black market, often times they have no idea who their dollars are going to. How long will customers support prices that are so much higher than the black market? Only time will tell. But for now, prices don’t seem to bother customers, and in the case of Mark Edwards at Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, he’s glad to pay more.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


  1. Bongstar420 on

    Bill Gates lives in WA…so do other billionaires.

    WA has a tax code which favors the rich

  2. Bongstar420 on

    No..its because the penalties are not compatible with legalization…You see, legalization affirms that prohibition was wrong the entire time. Some retroactive changes are warranted.

    For instance, I was charged with a class 1 felony distribution and that is not a class 1 felony any more…this charge is especially BS because had licensing been available, I would have been legal.

  3. Bongstar420 on

    Sure..thats why its called dirt weed.

    Grown at scale and cheap as dirt with a similar quality

  4. Bongstar420 on

    This is rich.

    Todays prices are the same as that 1969 $1.79/g with far higher average quality, taxes, and regulations, yet people still gripe about the cost of getting high.

    $1.79 in 1969 = $11.42 in 2016

    People were getting ripped off during 60-70’s since getting busted was far less likely than in today’s black market and most pot was barely even consumable.

  5. Bongstar420 on

    So your saying you will sell me $50oz pot that is better than I can do my self eh?

  6. Bongstar420 on

    Is that what responsible people do when they can’t afford legal drugs?

    Or is abstinence what a responsible person actually does?

  7. Bongstar420 on

    Sure. But many growers are just management and don’t really do work either.

  8. Bongstar420 on


    Cannabis will shoot $ their way…from the corporate types that is

  9. Bongstar420 on

    The judge overhearing the case only accepted testimony from docs promoting the desired viewpoint. Its a matter of record apparently.

    Cannabis prohibition is in fact 100% political…but so is “organic” food

  10. Most people that use their Horns are annoying.
    It Would seem to me that an AI would know that drugs are not bad unless they cause damage and that most damage comes from an improper dose. There is not a thing wrong with cocaine when it is used at a dose of 2% orally or a higher dose say for topical burn pain relief. The problem is when humans use the wrong dose. Many people don’t seem to be able to control themselves with drugs so we have these “One size Fits All” laws on the books. Maybe an AI would think let them drug themselves to death and leave more resources for the people that can control themselves. That would be too big of an emotional pill to swallow for a lot people. On legalizing all drugs i have heard people use the argument that they don’t want their kids on drugs well i know that the best place to score some drugs would be in the schools. It’s a money thing and when money talks everybody listens.
    Self driving cars are an Old Tech that has been around for over 20 years and now it is being fine tuned. Yes our society has become dysfunctional mostly and the people that could do a good job of leading would not be capable of getting elected because they don’t believe in pink unicorns,fairies, or deities. Religion has a way of dumbing down society and standing in the way of true human enlightenment.

  11. Thanks for the fiber, C. Ruderalis information. I hadn’t considered cross-pollination it makes perfect sense. One perhaps similar to farmed vs. wild Pacific salmon mixing. My twin brother lives in Kentucky. Historically KY. had been America’s biggest hemp fiber producing state. Tobacco farmers are hoping for a return to that era, especially now that the ridiculous hemp ban has now been lifted. And now that a new hemp crop is in the ground. My twin thinks it’s going to be great for tobacco farmers, badly in need of a new revenue source
    . My Seattle neighborhood seems to have been ground zero for the California migration North. My neighborhood consist’s of people primarily from the Bay area, having moved here following the Nisqually earthquake of 2001. These Californians quickly integrated, with many well on the path in becoming “mossbacks” themselves. Annoying however, are Impatient horn honkers, once a rarity in the Emerald City. Horns have become common place in the city now. Computer human control begins with self driving cars. This will start a sea change in peoples perceptions.

  12. Yes that’s partly because so many people from the LA area moved up there and jacked up the real estate price. Cannabis could be grown in plenty places around the country where the land is more reasonable. The fibers in the stalks of Cannabis that contains high THC has fibers just as good in it as the hemp with low THC. The low THC hemp (Cannabis ruderalis) would have an effect of diluting the Cannabis that others grow outside that isn’t hemp. And the Cannabis Sativa plant grows taller than the other types and actually would be a better plant (Much more Fiber)for farmers to grow. But this world has never ran on logic but on stupidity and emotion. I hope when the Singularity arrives that the computers take control away from the humans that are too stupid to govern themselves.

  13. I watch the Seattle TV chl. occasionally, they’ve had some panelists talking about it. I’ll see if I can find something and send you the link

  14. Got it. Growing large is tough In Seattle where a parking spot can sell for up to $250,000.

  15. Sure they’re both “natural” until being compounded. I’ve heard they use cobra snake venom in oxy-contin. I spend a few months every year with family in Switzerland. They live in Romandie, French speaking Switzerland. I’m always so amazed by the incredible variety of uncompounded natural plant products you can buy only in Suisse pharmacy’s.

  16. I said “Tax is a good way to get it legalized (Camel’s Nose Under The Tent)” I think that about covers it.

  17. One further note, although the FDA approves opioid drugs such as oxycontin, aspirin would not be approvable under current rules, according to most experts. Google this for yourself, a little education would go a long way before you make comments in ignorance.

  18. Plant extracts, including willow bark and spiraea, of which salicylic acid was the active ingredient, had been known to help alleviate headaches, pains, and fevers since antiquity. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 377 BC), left historical records describing the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help these symptoms.[
    A French chemist, Charles Frederic Gerhardt, was the first to prepare acetylsalicylic acid in 1853. Six years later, in 1859, von Gilm obtained analytically pure acetylsalicylic acid (which he called acetylierte Salicylsäure, acetylated salicylic acid)
    In 1897, chemists working at Bayer AG produced a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species Filipendula ulmaria (meadowsweet), which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. By 1899, Bayer was selling it around the world.

    1906 Food and Drugs Act established the FDA. Problems with the 1906 Act: False therapeutic claims for patent medicines escaped control in 1912 when Congress enacted an amendment outlawing such claims but requiring the Government to prove them fraudulent; i.e., that the promoter intended to swindle his victims. A defendant had only to show that he personally believed in his fake remedy to escape prosecution — a major weakness in the law for 26 years.

    Cannabis was not prohibited by the US government until 1936, but not by the FDA. The FDA did not act against cannabis because there was no scientific reason to do so. The decision was POLITICAL. Prohibition was enacted by Congress against the advice of the medical community.

  19. Johnny Bloomington on

    Were are the reports then? For the most part it’s been smooth sailing.

  20. Greetings from the Q! Where every sunrise is… art. :)

    Collective gardens are not allowed here by law. But, if you are privileged enough to have the right connections… I’ve heard something close to that does exist.

  21. Thankfully, Washington’s not as politically volatile as seen in other states. The 2012 retail law is insulated from the legislature for the most part.. Our Governor was an advocate for legalization, that helps a lot. Although I do have concerns regarding Colorado. Hopefully, things will go well for them.. I’ll just be glad when the 2014elections are behind us.

  22. Agreed. Do you use collective gardens there? I still miss NM. I once lived in Pojoaque.I was a bartender at El Farol on
    Canyon Rd. in Santa Fe, back in the early 70’s.. Best Regards.

  23. True, very ill people are rarely able to grow well. This s why collective gardens are so valuable.

  24. Aspirin comes from the bark of the willow tree. The Bayer Aspirin company originally compounded it into the product we know today. If Bayer hadn’t compounded it, and the Federal FDA. hadn’t approved and standardized it, we’d still be using tree bark to reduce headaches & fevers. Sometime regulation can be good for our health and well-being.

  25. Opponent’s have had since 2012 to raise huge amounts of money to launch their opposition effort against Colorado law. They are using harm to ‘Kids” to justify their efforts. They might be successful as reports show former supporter’s now souring on the law they helped pass, many citing over-commercialization. It was never going to be easy. And it;s not over yet

  26. The “tax pigs” are one of the main reason’s both legalization states have since dismissed all pending criminal charges for simple marijuana possession. Do you think that without the anticipated tax revenue that state law enforcement/ prosecutor’s were going to do it simply out of the goodness in their hearts?

  27. No, seriously, The roll-out is going as planned. And since you have a Washington medical Authorization card, why bitch about the “High” prices you’re never going to pay, and stores you don’t intend to use. I’m sure Washington’s retail store owners are really going to miss the money you never had any intention of spending with them.

  28. Johnny Bloomington on

    Base on what? Opponents have no ammo left. You can only cry wolf so many times.

  29. Yes, seriously, after one week it is clearly a fail. There is no chance the law and the people implementing it can come up with reasonably priced legal cannabis. Even when all of the stores are open, they will still have three 25% tax burdens and the supply is still going to be legally limited to no more than an estimated 25% of the expected demand. So – I repeat – if one of the reasons to legalize cannabis is to eliminate the black market, kindly explain, o mighty know-it-all, where the other 75% is going to come from? As for whose money they are looking for, yes, they aren’t looking for my money. And they aren’t going to get it. I mentioned that I have a medical card – you noticed, that, right? Well, I can go to any dispensary in the state and get quality cannabis for 1/3 the price of the retail stuff (if there is any retail stuff left to sell as of 7/13/2014).

    If that’s not a fail, what is? For pete’s sake, they ran out of product in 3 days!


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  31. 501 in Wash State is not legalization, it is just the control freaks of law enforcement and government keeping cannab)is as a law enforcement jobs program. Ignore it, boycott over priced weed, buy from your underground mom and pop growers. This is an example of what happens when you compromise with prohibitionists, you make a deal with the devil, and you lose. Such nonsense over a plant, good grief. Has anyone ever heard of sickness or hospitalization from moldy pot? I never have.

    This idea of regulating pot for mold or insects is a non problem with a huge expensive solution. How about the tomatoes we grow??? Should there be special stores for that as well? Tomatoes have mold and insects. Millions of Americans have smoked millions of pounds of unregulated cannab)is, over 75 years of modern medicine, but no problems with moldy/bad pot at the hospitals or emergency rooms…Ahahahahah !!!

    Jorge Cervantes on Utube says: A light solution of h2o2 and a quick rinse with water then hang the buds will kill the mold and insects. Be gentle not to knock the oil tricomes off.

    CANNABlS should not be regulated anymore than aspirin or tomatoes, and should be grandfathered in by the FDA because like aspirin, it was already in widespread medical use prior to the creation of the FDA. Don’t make a deal with the devil, don’t compromise with prohibitionists trying to sound reasonable just steals your freedom. Cannabis should not be used as a law enforcement or regulatory bureaucrats jobs program!

  32. I grow outdoor and am fortunate to have a huge patio for container growing. For those cramped for space, consider auto-flowering. They don’t produce a lot and THC level is lower, but they are small (so fit in smaller spaces) and fast growing (so space can be recycled often).

  33. None of the personal growers in New Mexico come close to that estimate. But then, most are chronically-ill patients, not expert growers.

  34. As someone who has sampled MMJ from dispensaries and pot from the underground market, I find both vary widely in quality and price. I’ve purchased shake from a dispensary and some of the strongest bud I’ve ever smoked from the underground. The problem with both sources of bud is consistency — once you find something you like, it is usually really hard to find it again.

    And when you add taxes to the cost of your uninsured medicine, along with the cost of annual renewal, the prices begin to be out of range for a significant percentage of patients (and consumers).

    “Anyone can grow weed. Not everyone grows great cannabis.” MariaJuana

  35. Humboldt Star on

    A 4×8 area can produce 3 pounds every 8 to 10 weeks and more depending on strain selected and experience

  36. Grown on a large scale and it should be as cheap as dirt simple economics. Of course this would require knocking the tax pigs off of the tit. Tax is a good way to get it legalized (Camel’s Nose Under The Tent) because there are plenty of greedy piggies in government salivating over the tax orgy. However evently people will get tired of the taxes and it will be a hard fight to get the addicted to tax piggies to go cold turkey but it could happen by the time the Singularity arrives. I live in Arkansas BTW a mental wasteland and bible thumper heaven.


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  38. I’m unfortunately, not as hopeful as you are. I don’t believe that that many other states will legalize in time. There’s always political push back. It’s coming fast. I believe those States who fail to legalize prior to 2016 will find themselves out of luck.

  39. $50 an Ounce? Let’s see, 50 divided by 28 (grams to an ounce) equals…. let’s just call it $1.79 a gram. I lived in San Francisco in ’69 and paid that. Where do you live?

  40. I agree. That’s why the initial store roll-out was limited to just seven out of an eventual total of three hundred thirty four. Stores with low supply, due to waitng for grower harvests have temporarily closed until more product becomes available. That say’s a lot about these business’s commitment to addressing the very concerns you raise. In Washington growers cannot sell and vice-versa. This was designed to keep mega- growers from dominating the retail side. it’s taken time, however, long-term, it’ll be worth it.

  41. Seriously? After only one week? And you’re not even going to be a customer? Please, just seven of 334 stores have now opened. The first person to buy legal marijuana was from KANSAS. And then there are all of those cruise-ship passenger’s, soon to descend upon Pike Place Market. They have lot’s of money to spend. And that’s why the city is working so hard to get vape shops ok’d and opened up asap. Seattle’s looking for tourist’s, and middle-aged peoples money, not yours.

  42. Having enough room is a problem for many wanting to grow. Take Seattle for example, which has new apartments, condo’s and high-rises stacked up like domino’s. Yet, Seattle, America’s fastest growing city, has more renters than it does home owner’s. And we’re not talking beaucoup sq. footage. Best regards.

  43. If you think marijuana is gonna be legalized and everything will be all right no matter what, your sadly mistaken.

    December 2012

    and then May 2013

    Click on both links. See what im saying! What makes you think 55% of voters on are side wont betray us like that guy in the link did? What makes you think Dianne Russell, Ron Paul, Justin Amish, Earl Bloominour, Jared Polis or Gavin Newsome wont do the same damn thing? Just a thought.

  44. Just grow your own (if legally possible). It’s much, much, much cheaper and you know exactly what you’re getting.

  45. I won’t pay prices like that. I will go black market if the prices don’t come down here (I live in WA state). I have an MMJ card so I don’t have to go to these ripoff “retail” stores. The writer of this article, with all due respect, is clueless, regardless of his background. There is a novelty factor going on right now; only a few people (in the thousands, at most) were able to buy any bud before the stores ran out. if it stays like this, only tourists and rich people will buy at the stores. The rest of us will use MMJ or black market. Since one of the big reasons to support ending THC prohibition is ending the black market, this implementation, so far, must be called what it is: an expensive fail.

  46. The quality of medical grade cannabis is essentially guaranteed via state inspections, so you know what you are getting, thus the much higher price than what is paid on the street.
    However, there will be a ceiling price that most people may eventually hit that forces them to either cut back on their medication or opt for getting it on the street. The producers and dispensaries need to maintain an awareness regarding their greed, and many of them are at or near the top of the price range that has already begun forcing patients out. And at some point it seems plausible that the state’s will become involved and begin regulating the prices to ensure a somewhat steady revenue/tax flow.

  47. That is way too expensive it should be about $50. an ounce for primo. At that price and with taxes figured in that price there would still be plenty of profit. These people in CO are being gouged on prices and people will rebel on this eventually.

  48. Good point. That’s one reason Cannabis City in Seattle made the correct decision to close until July 21st. At least until more product becomes available for them to sell. My hat off to them. Better to be forgiven for a problem beyond their control than risk losing same over small minded greed. In time the supply shortage will be resolved . A bad reputation: Never.

  49. I believe that theory is already being called into question. It appears many people will pay more for reliability and quality. But we’ll find out soon as harvests are completed and more product flows into Washington’s retail store’s.

  50. Washington’s lab testing requirement for all cannabis product sold in state stores, prior to sale, places potency,origin, moisture content etc. on a standardized label. This seems to me the only way one knows for sure what they’re actually getting for their money. I like the Washington State system. And it will only get better with time.

  51. Somewhat similar to the way one buys produce in the EU, Washington requires state lab testing to ensure everyone knows what they’re buying and where it was grown. I really like that..

  52. Johnny Bloomington on

    “high prices don’t seem to bother customers.”

    Wait till the novelty wears off and many states have legalized. People are going to demand lower prices and big corps are going to fill the demand.

  53. Yep that will happen. If the new market in Washington State, starts off charging high prices for their product , from grower, to processer, and then on to the retailer and pass it on to the consumer. There will be a great reduction in sales. The demand controls the price will not work in this business. The taxes alone are an encumbrance. They make it very hard to compete in an consumer orientated market. When you add greed to the supply and demand principle , you are not following a good business model. You need to be setting your prices not for the current shortages, but for the longevity of your business is to succeed. If you allow yourself to take advantage of your customers for even a short period of time, you will loose them in the long run. Soon the production will be more then the processors can handle, and the demand will have balanced out. But the memory of the folks that were priced gouged by the retailers out for a quick buck will last forever. The glamor will ware off. So will the sales. Then the commitment you made to your employees will become burdensome. There will be layoffs. And in the end your business will fail, or be absorbed by a smarter company. Take it slow. And treat all the people fairly. An honest and fair business man will live happier, and in the end ,die richer. Good luck to you pioneers in this new and uncharted industry.

  54. Well you can’t trust the ‘legal’ Arizona medical marijuana! It is crap grown by those who don’t care at all about the plants or the quality – just trying to push that THC level higher and push the buds out the door, ready or not. Pesticides and other poisons, mold, mildew; some of it smells like lawn clippings or hay @ $20 a gram. Bud tenders telling customers that they carry “high CBD” flowers, then showing that it tested out at .063 CBD. “Are you new to MM?” If you say yes, watch out! And they (bud tenders) are all so over the top stoned they can’t even be of any help.

  55. Humboldt Star on

    From my experience as a grower in cali and humboldt you would be amazed how much toxic chemicals are sprayed on most grows. This is because of a monoculture of worn out genetics and poor growing conditions at many greenhouse and indoor operations. I welcome a system in which the product is tested not only for cbd and thc content but traces of botrytis and pesticides, miticides and other toxins. I only grow all organic and do not have the need for dangerous chemicals to insure there is a harvest. Ah the lid, yes children, once marijuana was sold for 15 to 20 a lid. This was a sandwich bag stuffed so full that only the lid or flap at the top of the bag could be folded over. I remember when punta roja first came around in the early 70’s at 25 bucks a weighted oz and 300 a pound, truly 2 toke weed. Those were the days, red lebonese, blonde, lebonese, nepalese finger hash, temple balls, that was the shit!

  56. Yes it’s true the black market wii survive as long as they can make money if not in the legal states then they will in other states. As for prices going down in legal states it’s supply verses demand. Not enough supply to match the demand. Remember this it takes time to grow a plant. Secure green houses take money to build This is a lot to invest if it can be taken away next election. The only way for everything to work out completely is to legalize America. So let’s do that email your polititions

  57. Uncle Arthur on

    The taxes may be distasteful, but I find them far less distasteful than having to support a black market dealer buying a new flashy car.

  58. I would like to know what I’m getting, can’t trust the black market with quality.

  59. I haven’t done black market in several decades so my question is about the quality. You know what you’re getting with the legal stuff so can the black market make that same claim? I would like to hear some honest answers please from people who have now bought both legal and street pot.

  60. Smell My Nugg on

    The black market will thrive unless prices come down close to black market levels.

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