California’s decades-long reputation as an international cannabis growing powerhouse suggests prices for flower should be cheap. The logic: With enormous outdoor grows in the Emerald Triangle pumping out so much Blue Dream, Jack Herer and Gorilla Glue, the marketplace must be flooded with flower, and Golden State prices as a result surely are the cheapest in the nation.
Au contraire. In fact, prices in California for flower are the highest among the states with large and established legal recreational cannabis markets — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California.
During the five months between March and July of this year, according to data analytics and market research firm BDS Analytics, the average pre-tax price for a gram of California bud was $9.24. But in Colorado, the average price was $5.48, in Washington (for March through June) it was $5.69, and March through July in Oregon was $8.68.
This is likely to change.
If trends that rooted in other states gain strength in California, we should witness a temporary boost in average flower prices next year as the recreational marketplace unfolds. But then prices should drop — precipitously. Factors that contribute to the downward slide in prices include:
- The speed with which cultivators are licensed and state regulator’s ability to grandfather existing cultivators into the initial mix of dispensaries
- The scale of allowed cultivation facilities
- The presence of distributors requiring additional markup of products
The trend is the same with pre-rolls. In California, the average pre-roll price in July was $8.52. In Colorado it was $8.10, in Oregon it was $7.33 and in Washington for June it was $5.32.
Concentrates are expensive in California as well, although Oregon supports the most expensive concentrates market in the big recreational states. Washington has the cheapest concentrates market, with average prices in June at $22.26. Colorado is a close second, in terms of value, with an average price of $25.52 for concentrates. For Californians, the average prices rises to $30.13, and in Oregon it is a rather large leap in price to $40.54.
The pricing situation is reversed in the other large cannabis category — edibles. In the land of brownies, gummies, lollipops and cookies, Californians enjoy the cheapest prices among the large states, with an average selling price of $12.29 in July. By comparison, the average price in Oregon is $18.99, in Colorado $16.52 and in Washington (for June) $12.98.
Lessons-learned in other states show that the faster prices decline, the more rapidly sales volume increases. If prices do fail to decline with flower products, including pre-rolls, chances for the survival of a thriving black market ratchet-up, due in part to the point we made at the very beginning of this article — California grows a LOT of weed.