More on the WA cannabis price collapse

I feel sorry for the farmers getting caught in the downdraft. More than that, I’m worried about the impact of cheap pot on problem use, and on illegal exports out of state.

But as a pure analyst, I’d just like to ask Beau Kilmer to take a bow. He calculated the cost of Dutch legal medical cannabis at approximately 1 Euro ($1.30) per gram. Now the reported wholesale price in Washington is $700-$800/lb. That works out to about $1.65 a gram.

Will wholesale prices rise as more retail stores are licensed? Maybe, for a while. But there’s every reason to think that next year’s crop will be bigger, and therefore cheaper, than this year’s. In the long run, the pre-tax price of a joint will be the pre-tax price of a cigarette or a teabag: pennies, not dollars.  That’s the policy problem we need to wrestle with now. It seems inevitable that cannabis will become legal. But will it do so in a more-public-health-friendly way, or a less-public-health-friendly way? Right now, the auspices aren’t favorable.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

4 thoughts on “More on the WA cannabis price collapse”

  1. In California, $700-800 would get you barely two ounces of medium-quality weed at a dispensary. The stuff that sells for that rate a POUND, even wholesale, is stuff no self-respecting toker would imbibe.

  2. I followed a link to a rec store in eastern Washington that was quoted for a press release on cheap pot. There per gram prices ranged from 15-25 a gram. The cheapest ounce price was 280 this is before taxes. This price drop that everyone’s talking about still does not compete with black market pricing. Where are those 1.70 a gram outlets? My prediction a year from now, Rec stores are floundering behind a thriving black market

  3. @ Mark Kleiman

    Since I am in the "field", so to speak, I can tell you that production/process costs are getting close to your numbers.
    Not there yet, but stunningly close, in just one partial, outdoor growing season. Prices will collapse even further this year.
    Bad side: there will be much more diversion from norcal and oregon to other states outside of the west coast.

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