If Growers are Getting Less Per Pound, Why are Customers Paying the Same?
Here in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, locals are worried about pot. Not about whether marijuana is bad for you but about the price of marijuana. Many people around here depend on cannabis growing either directly (as farmers and trimmers) or indirectly (as local business people) so the price of pot is as important to the local economy as the sales of wine are to Napa Valley.
NPR is doing a story today on our community’s concerns about the “plummeting price of pot.” Growers’ concerns are being treated seriously (at least by the media–if not by the people who comment) and it stars our very own radio host, Charlie Custer as well as cameo appearances by other locals.
Living here in Humboldt writing about weed, I’d say the NPR story is close to correct as far as I can tell. Prices for outdoor circle around $2000. OG Kush can go for up to $2400. Strains with less aroma and panache can go down to $1800. Of course, anyone moving quantity will get less. Outdoor prices are slightly less than what they were last year. Buyers seem a little more picky–which is good for the consumer.
Indoor prices dropped more seriously this last year. And indoor growers seem more frustrated about finding buyers. I attribute this to dispensaries growing their own now and not buying from independent growers.I’ll have to do some research on prices but last I heard indoor was down about $300-$500 from last year.
From reading marijuana chat rooms I’ve gotten the impression that good weed is difficult to buy in other areas of the country. However, here we are flooded–with new growers and with established growers producing more and more product. Some growers have told me that they have doubled and tripled the size of their patches. This has resulted in lower prices to the farmers.
The subsequent price drops haven’t reached the consumer though. The admittedly unscientific samplings at High Times have April 2009’s prices to the consumers at $375 and this April’s prices at $374 per ounce. Other people have told me that prices at dispensaries are roughly the same as last year.
Why are the quality growers of Humboldt seeing lower prices but the consumer isn’t seeing the benefit? According to Lyle Buettner who describes himself as a grower in a comment on NPR’s story says,
In the world of the black market one needs reliable people for distribution. If you live in the middle of nowhere and talk to nobody it doesn’t matter how much pot you got.
There is a need for a better distribution system. Local growers need to form collectives that can go directly to dispensaries. The growers will benefit from higher sales and prices. The consumers will benefit in form of lower prices and better selection. Sadly, pot from the Emerald Triangle has a hard time reaching consumers even here on the west coast. A writer for a well-known marijuana blog complained about outdoor weed saying that it wasn’t usually good quality in his area but then stated to me,
I have heard from many Northern Californians that they prefer outdoor to indoor. People up here in Oregon would LOVE some quality outdoor, but it just seems too hard to find by the time you get up here. Many of my friends have contemplated just driving down there in October and hanging out at bars to meet some Californians looking to meet Oregonians…but we never know what to expect when we get there.