The number of strains for sale in the cannabis market grows, weed-like, every month. Do all of the new strain names always reflect entirely novel genetics? They do not. Sometimes old strains get new names, for example. But more times than not the new strain carries some genetic quirk that differentiates it from its sisters and brothers. At this point, the world of strains resembles some hybrid of farm and jungle — a riot and tangle of plant diversity that evolves rapidly due to human intervention.
This sure makes it fun. Who doesn’t want to try a hit of Red Headed Stranger (the No. 5 strain in Colorado during the first half of 2018), or take a puff of Sour Banana Sherbert (No. 6 in Oregon during the time period)?
When we examine strains in Colorado, Oregon and California, at least one thing is shared among consumers in the states: a fondness for the strain Blue Dream, a sativa-dominant hybrid that is the most popular, in terms of dollar sales, for the first six months of 2018, according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics.
With $55.35 million in sales during the period, Coloradans surely opened their wallets for strain-specific flower, but thanks in part of falling prices the dollar amount is down by 34 percent compared to the same period last year. The average retail for a gram in Colorado is $4.75, which is less than half the average for a gram in California.
The top strains in Colorado during the period have been Blue Dream, with $4.34 million in sales; Durban Poison, at $2.73 million; and Golden Goat, $2.18 million. With average retail of $4.54 per gram, Golden Goat was the most expensive of the top three, but among the top 15 strains Super Lemon Haze was the priciest strain, at $6.17 a gram.
Blue Dream has ruled across the year. It’s lead was most commanding in March, with $890,000 in sales compared to the No. 2 strain, Durban Poison, with $451,000. But Durban Poison has been catching up to the Dream, and in June sales of Blue Dream were $734,000 compared to $593,000 for Durban. It’s a battle worth watching.
Sales of $58.73 million for strain-specific flower roughly represent stasis compared to the same period last year. But with an average retail of $6.61, flower sales in Oregon eclipsed sales in Colorado, which supports a much larger and more mature market.
The Oregon line-up: Blue Dream, $1,543,672; Durban Poison, $1,510,688; and Purple Hindu Kush, $1,321,365. Prices bounce around: Blue Dream sells for an average of $5.95, but the No. 2 strain, Durban Poison, goes for $8.33. Purple Hindu Kush was the cheapest of the top three, at $4.88 a gram. But of the top 15 strains in the Beaver State, Voyager #1 dwells at the very top of top-shelf, with a price of $11.83.
The battle for strain supremacy in Oregon has been an ongoing slugfest for several years. This year, Blue Dream was the third-most-popular strain in January, but by March it held the lead. A month later, Blue Dream was in fourth place, behind that month’s market leader Purple Hindu Kush and other strains. But by June, Blue Dream was back on top again.
Big sales of $210.4 million during the period make the Golden State the busiest flower marketplace in the country — by far. Among the states under consideration it also is the most expensive, with an average retail price for a gram at $9.81.
The gold medal goes to Blue Dream ($6.6 million); Kosher Kush grabs the silver ($4.9 million); and that California standby, OG Kush, grabs the bronze, with $4.2 million in sales.
Blue Dream commanded the lead in California all year — in January, for example, sales hit $1.2 million compared to Kosher Kush’s $560,000 — until June. By the conclusion of California’s first six months of adult-use sales, Kosher Kush saw $1 million in sales, Sour Diesel hit $700,000 and the once-mighty Blue Dream grabbed third place, with $680,000 in sales receipts.