Weed Prices Across the US Show Varied Revenue Opportunities

By Kelly Burch 02/02/18
A new analysis maps cannabis prices across the United States, finding the cheapest marijuana on the West Coast and the priciest in D.C.
weed map

The price of weed varies widely across the country, with the cheapest marijuana found on the West Coast and the most expensive found right in the nation’s capital, according to the 2018 Cannabis Price Index compiled by Seedo and reported by Bloomberg News.

Seattle and Denver—which have had legalized marijuana sales for longer than anywhere else—also have the lowest prices per gram in the country, at $7.58 and $7.79 respectively. Other western cities also have low prices as well, including San Francisco ($9.27), Los Angeles ($8.14) and Phoenix ($9.35).

When you head east, the price of marijuana per gram increases dramatically, from $11.01 in Boston to $18.08 in Washington, D.C., which has the highest weed price in the country. Although D.C. has legalized the possession of weed, it remains illegal to sell marijuana. It’s not clear whether this somewhat confusing law contributes to the high price of cannabis in the nation's capital.

New York City consumed more marijuana than any other city in the country, according to the report, despite the fact that recreational use is not legal in The Big Apple. With a gram of marijuana costing $10.66 in New York, the city could raise $354 million per year in taxes if cannabis were legalized and taxed at a similar rate to cigarettes.

A lot of attention has been given to the potential revenue that can be generated from legalizing recreational use of marijuana and taxing the sale of the drug. In Colorado, marijuana sales generated $105 million during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which was used to fund programs to serve people with substance use disorders and other mental health concerns. The state also directs funds from marijuana sales to school projects.

However, even in states with legal dispensaries, a black market for marijuana remains, often because the drug is cheaper when purchased through backwater channels. In California, for example, legal weed costs about two to three times as much as black-market marijuana. Fitch Ratings released a report in January saying that the black market was likely going to thrive in the state, where marijuana is taxed at about 45%.

“High tax rates raise prices in legal markets, reinforcing the price advantage of black markets,” the firm said. “California’s black markets for cannabis were well established long before its voters legalized cannabis in November 2016 and are expected to dominate post-legalization production.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.