More than 22 Million Americans are smoking pot on a regular basis, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse. Almost double the number from 2018. Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used psychotropic drug in the United States.
When asking the question, “How much does weed cost?”, it really depends on where you are in the world. According to Save On Cannabis, in the US alone, an ounce of cannabis ranges from $210 in Oregon to over $590 in Washington DC. It depends on legalization, taxes and the local demand.
Taxes Help Make Weed So Expensive
Illegally grown cannabis can be very expensive because of the risk associated with growing and selling on the black market. When someone takes the risk that you are not willing to take, it increases the cost of anything, especially on such a high demand commodity like marijuana.
Legally grown and dispensed pot is also a little pricey when you go to a licensed dispensary because of not only the cost of production, geographical location, logistics costs, quality of the product, business competition and of course taxes. Honestly with all things being equal from an expense standpoint from the illegal to the legal market it is the taxes that put cannabis out of reach for many patients in need. For example, California, a state ridiculed by many because of high taxes boasts a 15% sales tax on all cannabis products as well as a cultivation tax of $9.25 tax on every ounce of flower and a $2.75 tax on an ounce of leaves. Yes, an ounce of leaves! Legal cannabis companies also have to pay a 30% – 70% federal tax while Section 280E of the tax code prohibits any company “trafficking in controlled substances” from tax breaks like rent or employees-related expenses.
According to The Tax Foundation, Washington state has a 37% sales tax on adult use marijuana while Colorado has implemented a 15% excise tax on the sale from the cultivator to the retailer plus a 15% tax on sales to the retail customer as well. So you see, taxes play a big roll in why cannabis is so expensive.
Testing Labs Add to the Cost of Weed
In all legal states, testing cannabis products is mandatory. In Las Vegas, every 5 pounds of pot have to be tested. In California it’s every 50 pound batch that has to be tested and all states have either adopted Nevada’s rules or come up with something in between 5 and 50 pound batches. Testing for cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides, heavy metals, microbiology contamination, solvents and water activity are all pretty common in most states and can cost between $50 and $150 per pound depending on the size of the batch.
So How Much Does Pot Cost Where You Are?
Since an ounce is the most you can purchase in most legal states, we’ll focus on the cost of an ounce. And just so you know, there are 28.3495 grams to an ounce and most people round it down to just 28 grams. If you are just looking to fill your weed pipe or bong, there are smaller denominations you can buy weed for like a quarter, an eight or even a gram, but we’ll focus on the ounce, so you’ll be set for the month.
The price of an ounce of weed will depend on where you are in the country but the average price nationwide ranges from $230 to $380. Washington D.C. really skews the average higher with prices over $500 while Oregon skews the average lower with a cost of only $186.
Below is a chart of an ounce of marijuana in LEGAL states (some of these are medical marijuana and some are adult use, depending on the rules in that particular state):
So How Do You get The Best Price?
Shop around. That’s the best advice we can offer. Lots of dispensaries are vying for your business and many of them offer specials for loyal customers as well as first time customers. So take some time to either call around to your local dispensaries and literally ask them about what specials they do have or go online to their websites as most dispensaries keep an updated menu online. And definitely call or visit more than one, so you can comparison shop just like you would if you were buying any other household item. After chatting with 4 or 5 different pot shops you will get an overall feeling on the average price in your area.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Birds of a Feather Stick Together…” so another good idea is to ask around to your friends and family members who also like to smoke a bowl, eat and edible or torch up a dab and see where their favorite dispensaries are to buy their marijuana products from and see if they can recommend where to find the best priced weed.
It’s also important to look for deals. Some dispensaries offer deals in order to get your business and also to get some things off their shelves that have been there too long. The good news there is marijuana flower can last up to a year when properly stored. It may have lost some of the potency and some of the terpene content because of decarboxylation, but you should still be able to find some decent weed at some very favorable pricing.
So understand that your physical location is the main determination on what you will pay for weed and remember to shop around. If you are in a place where cannabis is not legal yet, it is harder to shop around for the right guy and you’ll just have to go by word of mouth.
My thoughts are that as soon as federal marijuana legalization happens, the price will bottom out because all of the the risks go away. I also believe that over time pot will become a commodity and it will also drive the price down to a more reasonable number. So in the meantime, while we wait for federal legalization and commoditization, shop for pot like you would anything else…get yourself a smoking pot deal!