Guide to Cannabis Prices In 2021
Oct 27, 2018 | Kat Austin
Video Article Summary
Medical and recreational marijuana has become more accessible thanks to changes in legislature, with numerous dispensaries opening in the United States and Canada. One of the most common questions for new cannabis users is how much weed costs because everyone wants to know the fair price to expect at their local dispensary. This guide has been updated as of March 1st, 2021.
- Weed Prices by Weight
- Why Is Weed Expensive?
- Weed Prices: United States vs Canada
- Dispensary Prices VS Street Prices
- How to Determine the Average Weed Prices in Your Location
Weed Prices by Weight
A great way to think about the size of each quantity is by how much use you can get from it – or how many joints you can roll. Reports that determine the average size of one joint vary greatly. One study concluded that the average weight of weed rolled into a single joint was only around 0.32 grams, while many avid cannabis users report using up to 1 gram at a time.
The amount of pot actually used in a single joint varies by the smoker’s preference, but for the sake of an average estimate, we calculate that a medium-sized joint holds around 0.5 grams.
How Much Does a Gram of Weed Cost?
The price of a gram of weed at dispensaries usually ranges from $10-$15. The actual price varies depending on the state and quality of the flower.
Prices are lower in cities like Oregon City and Seattle, where a gram costs about $6.75, and in Colorado, where a gram sells for around $7.15. In Washington D.C., a gram of cannabis can cost you over $18. In Canada, the average price of a gram is around $7 in 2020.
How Much is a Gram of Weed?
Visually, a gram of weed is between the size of a quarter and a half dollar. It is usually the smallest amount you can purchase at a dispensary.
At half a gram per joint, you can roll two joints out of a single gram of marijuana.
Grams are useful for trying new strains to test their effects but it is the most expensive way to purchase marijuana.
How Much Does an Eighth of Weed Cost?
The average price of an eighth is between $30 and $35. On the high end, an eighth will cost close to $40 in Alaska and $65 in Washington D.C. On the low end, customers pay around $23 in Oregon and Seattle. In Canada, consumers can expect to pay around $35-$37.
How Much is an Eighth of Weed?
An eighth is the next measurement after a gram and refers to an eighth of an ounce. An eighth of an ounce equals approximately 3.543 grams, but in the cannabis world, it is simplified to 3.5 grams.
At the going average of 0.5 grams per joint, an eighth will roll 7 joints.
How Much Does a Quarter of Weed Cost?
The average going price for a quarter of weed is between $65-$75. The 2020 national average is at $74, up one dollar from 2019. The price varies greatly by location as there are several states with below-average prices for quarters. In Oregon, Washington, and Colorado the prices for a quarter are around $46, $48, and $50 respectively. Quarters cost as much as $82 in North Dakota and closer to $120 in Washington D.C. The average price for a quarter of weed in Canada is around $54-$60.
How Much is Quarter of Weed?
A quarter of weed stands for quarter of an ounce, which is 7 grams.
At a half gram per joint, this will roll 14 joints.
How Much Does a Half Ounce of Weed Cost?
Typically, the price for a half ounce of marijuana falls somewhere between $90-$200. The most inexpensive states offer lower prices, like Oregon at $93, Washington at $95, and Colorado at $100. In Washington D.C. a quarter can cost over $250. In Canadian cities Toronto and Quebec customers pay around $105 for half an ounce of cannabis–with prices typically varying between $90-$100 across the country.
How Much is Half Ounce of Weed?
A half ounce is 14 grams, enough to roll 28 joints (using 0.5g per joint).
How Much Does an Ounce of Weed Cost?
The price of an ounce will usually fall somewhere between $200-$300 dollars but can cost much more in places like Alaska, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, where the price is much closer to $300. In Washington D.C., an ounce costs as much as $500. Some states have much cheaper options, like Oregon with ounces at $186, Washington at $190, and Colorado at $200. The average price for an ounce in Canada is only around $116-$169, depending on quality.
How Much is an Ounce of Weed?
An ounce of weed is equal to 28 grams of cannabis flower. It is one of the most popular quantities purchased at dispensaries. You might also hear it referred to as a “zip.”
Buying an ounce at a time is the best way for consumers to cut costs. It is usually the maximum amount that can be legally obtained and possessed at one time. An ounce will roll 56 half gram joints.
Why Is Weed Expensive?
The price of cannabis products in your area depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- government tax rates
- state tax rates and regulations
- municipal tax rates and regulations (where applicable)
- geographic location
- shipping costs
- quality of product
- competition in the area (legal and illicit market)
- payment processing (some U.S. retailers)
- marketing and branding costs (U.S.)
- manufacturing and operational costs
Since most legislation is set at the local government level, cannabis prices vary from one state to another. There is no nationwide scale for pricing cannabis products.
Federal, State, and City Imposed Taxes
One of the major reasons why legal cannabis prices are so high is due to taxes. In the United States, companies in the cannabis industry are subject to a federal tax rates between 30%-70%.
A 70% income tax rate may seem outrageously high, but due to legislature passed in the 80’s, it is the reality for many cannabis brands. Section 280E of the federal tax code prohibits any company that is “trafficking in controlled substances” from tax breaks like employee-related expenses or rent. Since cannabis is still illegal federally, these tax rates make legitimate cannabis companies costly to operate.
The high-income tax rate is determined based on the qualifications of each company, as well as their individual deductions and income rates. Initially, this law was set in place to prevent drug traffickers from getting unfair tax breaks. These prices are paid by the company, so they trickle down to the consumers and inflate the final cost of weed to cover the operating costs.
State and city taxes on cannabis sales also impact local weed prices. These tax rates differ depending on state and city. Washington has one of the highest tax rates in the U.S., charging an additional 37% on the sale of cannabis product. This also includes excise taxes, which can vary by city or county.
Alaska does not charge sales tax, but like many other states, they impose a cultivation tax. Growing cannabis costs manufacturers in Alaska around $50 per ounce purchased. Cultivation taxes generally are set rates paid per ounce or pound by the wholesaler or company.
In addition to all marijuana-specific taxes, state sales taxes also apply, which adds additional cost to the final purchase. All in all, multiple taxes play into what the consumers pay at dispensaries.
The taxing regulations in Canada are similar, but not exactly alike. In Canada, the market is controlled by the government and taxes are around $1 per gram or 10% of the total price.
Location, Labor, and Shipping Costs
Aside from taxes, there are a few logistics factors that affect how much weed costs at dispensaries.
First, marijuana grows best in climates that are relatively humid and warm. States with a climate that’s not ideal for growing cannabis have higher production costs since they have to build & operate indoor grows. Growing cannabis indoors is costly (more on this in the next section).
Second, producers and distributors have to factor in the price of labor required to load / unload product and deliver them to their final destination. The shipping and labor prices are factored in when dispensaries price their product.
There are also numerous legal hoops required in order to cultivate cannabis for wholesale distribution. This limits cannabis cultivation and prevents more manufacturers from entering the industry.
Better Weed Quality Leads to Higher Prices
Quality of weed is one of the biggest factors affecting costs on a consumer level. “Quality” refers to several factors, like the density, amount of trichomes, color, and the smell of the flower product. The most important factor that determines quality for most consumers is the potency, meaning it’s THC or CBD content.
Quality is determined by multiple factors, including the growing methodology, manufacturer’s expertise, growing conditions, and strain types. Like different types of apples, each strain has its own unique characteristics. These characteristics, including cannabinoid and terpene levels, result in different effects that may be appealing to a particular consumer. Strains that are in high demand due to their quality often cost more than less popular strains.
For marijuana that is grown outdoors, quality is also impacted by the environment. To reduce the risks posed by unpredictable weather, many growers are taking their operations indoors, to better control the quality of their harvests.
Growing indoors is more costly than growing outdoors. Indoor growing requires extra equipment (like artificial lighting and nutrients) and incurs additional utility costs (water and electricity) to grow quality plants. Indoor growing also requires more human labor, since large machinery cannot easily be utilized to harvest the product and the facility needs to be maintained. This price increase is passed down the line to the consumer.
Impact of Seasonality on Prices
Just like produce in the market, marijuana prices are heavily impacted by the season. During harvesting seasons (which vary by the plant) supply increases. With a supply increase comes lower prices for the wholesaler, which are eventually passed down to the consumer.
In the Northern hemisphere, marijuana that is grown outdoors is typically harvested between September and November, which means cannabis prices tend to drop during the months following harvesting.
Indoor growing eliminates seasonality as a factor, but as mentioned above, it is more costly to operate. There are also cannabis connoisseurs who prefer the small, taste, and effects of weed grown outdoors.
Local Competition Drives Pricing Fluctuations
Competition in your area directly affects cannabis prices. This is the same rule that applies to competition between every type of business and their leading competitors.
Grocery store A may advertise a twenty cent price drop on a particular type of apples in order to pull customers away from the competitor (grocery store B) and into their store. In response, grocery store B may lower the price of the same type of apple in order to convince customers to continue to choose their store. Then, grocery store B may also lower the price of a different type of apple as well, which may help them pull customers from grocery store A.
Each store usually has to raise prices in other areas to compensate for the discounts. In dispensaries, this may apply to particular strains or products, but where one product’s price drops, another will generally increase.
This means that you may be able to get better deals if you are more flexible with the strain you choose. Looking for sales and discounts on particular strains may help you cut costs.
Alternatively, businesses may run promotions in order to acquire new customers. These generally apply to online stores, but may also be used in brick and mortar businesses as well. Either way, the price you pay for product is directly impacted by market competition.
Cost of Weed By Quantity
After all of the above factors have been considered, cost of weed comes down to how much dispensaries pay the manufacturers. The more product a dispensary orders, the more of a discount they receive, which makes it easier for them to decrease their retail prices.
This is what makes it difficult for smaller dispensaries to compete with larger competitors. Inability to stock more product in larger quantities means they have a harder time offering more affordable prices.
Weed Prices: United States vs Canada
While legal marijuana use is equally heavy on both sides of the border, the markets are wholly different, especially considering Canada’s national legalization of the plant for both recreational and medicinal use. One report shows that Canada’s weed prices are around 30% lower than in the United States.
There are both simple and complex reasons for this. The easiest explanation is the illegal status of marijuana a federal level in the U.S. prevents it from being manufactured and sold at an efficient cost. One primary concern is that many producers and dispensaries do not have adequate bank access. In Canada, national banks have federal security when dealing with the cannabis market.
Canada also has a small population compared to the U.S. Therefore, there is a smaller market for marijuana that is incredibly competitive. Prices for marijuana are low in order to interest medical consumers. Because health care in Canada is often free or set at a very low price, many medicinal consumers refuse to pay high prices for the medicinal herb.
Because Canada’s government is on board, the market is more structured. Canada exports far more marijuana than they import, so there are very few added fees associated with the price of importing product. Government-controlled shops will offer a more flat-rate price, which is set to be somewhere around $8-10 per gram. The Canadian government hopes to rival black market prices and reduce the amount of marijuana bought on the street, therefore they regulate the prices on legal marijuana that is sold in order to keep prices low.
Dispensary Prices VS Street Prices
Street prices for marijuana can vary wildly making it is impossible to accurately determine them. In some areas in the southern United States, a quarter ounce can be bought for around 65 dollars. In northern areas, street prices are lower. Black market prices include no taxes or regulations, which can significantly decrease the price compared to pot purchased in dispensaries.
However, there is a reason that “street weed” costs so little. Most marijuana bought on the black market is home-grown by someone with a “green thumb” or imported from other countries, such as Mexico. Because the product is not produced commercially, tested for potency, or produced under important safety regulation, the quality varies significantly. Black market products are notoriously unreliable, and generally, have lower amounts of THC and other cannabinoids than legal marijuana.
There are also safety concerns for black market marijuana. Street pot may contain dangerous pesticides, additives, and harsh chemicals. Some reports over time have shown a trend in lacing marijuana in order to make it seem more potent, which is only a scheme that illicit dealers use in order to charge more for a poor quality product. The chemicals used to lace street weed vary from synthetic THC products to embalming fluid, laundry detergent, cocaine, and even PCP.
Buying weed in a dispensary is the only way to ensure that you know what you’re getting. Dispensaries have to follow guidelines for labeling and testing products, so you can easily look at the packaging to determine the THC content and other defining factors.
How to Determine the Average Weed Prices in Your Location
Because of all of the impending price factors, there is no one and done figure to help you determine pot prices in your locations. However, there are a few things you can do to help determine the going rate near you in order to decide if the prices you pay are fair. Try out the following tips to find information on weed prices in your area:
- Call your local dispensaries: You can call the dispensaries in your area and ask about prices for different quantities of bud. These dispensaries will only be able to offer you an average price since the price of each strain varies greatly. You should call more than one dispensary in order to accurately compare the prices. After calling 3-5 shops, you’ll be able to see a trend in prices that will help you determine what a fair rate is in your location. If you notice that one shop has rates much higher than all of the rest, that is a good indication that they are charging rates above the local average.
- Look online. In areas where marijuana use is legalized, there are some markets that ship or hand deliver marijuana products online. Usually, online shopping is recommended for products like oils and edibles since it is more desirable to see the bud in person before purchasing. However, the internet can be a great resource for collecting average price information for your area. Even flower listings on websites are getting more and more detailed with high-quality photos, lab results, and in-depth descriptions.
- Look into weed based tax regulations in your area. Understand the tax rate in your area may help you get a better understanding of what goes into pricing the marijuana that you purchase. In some places, taxes are included in the list price. In other areas, it is an extra fee, so pay close attention when doing your research. Remember that there will not only be a state tax, but also a local city tax on your purchase.
- Ask around. If you aren’t trying to remain discreet about your cannabis use, your friends and family can be a valuable resource in determining the going rate where you live. If you have friends or family that buy marijuana, ask them the prices they usually pay and where they purchase it and compare it to the other data you collect.
No matter the approach you take, identifying marijuana price marks in your area is a great first step to taking educated steps into the cannabis market. There are many different reasons that your local weed prices could vary greatly from what’s listed, but this guideline, along with your own research should help you decide if the price you’re paying is fair.
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