Recreational Legalization Causes Pot Prices to Plummet, Patients Benefit


Cannabis legalization is causing prices to plummet in Washington, with major implications for California patients.

Cannabis’ retail cost per gram has dropped almost 50 percent in Washington, from a high of $17 gram (common in California) to $9 per gram and falling.

  • BDS Analytics

The price drops illustrate how recreational legalization is the fastest route to lower prices for medical cannabis patients, many of whom bemoan the high cost of pot in California, and yet criticize legalization efforts as putting profits first and patients second.

In Washington's experiment with legalization, prices are plummeting as the supply of legal pot rapidly increases.

The cost of illegal pot is roughly 90 percent risk, researchers have noted, and with risk out of the equation, the true cost of marijuana is beginning to emerge.

Cannabis’ retail price in Washington is being tracked by BDS Analytics — a cannabis business intelligence and market share tracking service that shared its data with Legalization Nation on Thursday.

As California turns toward full legalization, some medical marijuana advocates have begun criticizing profit-seeking.

The reality is the opposite: Recreational legalization will be the single biggest boon to medical patients, resulting in radically lower prices, as well as increased patient access and legal protections.

Legal pot sales in Washington are up 360 percent from December 2014 to December 2015 — starting at $9 million and ending at $40 million. Sales growth quintupled in the last quarter of 2015 alone, even though Washington is criticized as having high taxes and the weakest form of legalization.

Legalization is rapidly diversifying the amount of product available to patients, as well as mandating lab-testing and pesticide regulations.

While flower sales dominate the market at 69 percent of sales, most of the market growth is in more advanced formulations and modalities like pre-rolls (68 percent quarterly growth), extracts (80 percent quarterly growth) and “other” like topicals.

The data counters criticism that patients are being left behind by legalization, as well critics of Washington legalization in general.

This week, legalization writer Russ Bellville called out the “True Legalizers” who worked to subvert legalization efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado and are at it again this year in California, Missouri, and elsewhere.

From "How True Legalization Squanders Actual Legalization":
“I think part of what motivates you is a paranoid fear of anything professional. If there’s money involved, you reason, there’s corruption and hidden agendas involved. You’ve been so abused by the institutions of government and capital that you can’t see mainstream, professional legalization as anything but a trick to somehow benefit someone other than you while keeping you under some measure of oppression.”

“The problem is that every person you manage to bamboozle with your fantasy of volunteer-led True Legalization™ succeeding is someone not putting time, money, and effort into working on limited legalization that actually has the polling, money, and signatures necessary to win. Every person you manage to enrage into hating the professional legalization campaign is someone who is now doing the campaign work for the cops, prison guards, rehabs, drug testers, and pharmaceutical companies that want to keep marijuana illegal.” 
In other News: the Bay Area Reporter, as well as Bay Area activist Chris Conrad, along with Jeremy Daw, are the latest to endorse the leading California legalization initiative: the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.