I am a big fan of NPR (ok, feel free to make fun of me…), and I came across an article dealing with falling marijuana prices in California. The article echoed things that I have been saying since 2007. As more and more people flooded into Northern California, and as more people got into the medical marijuana scene, the quality of product on the streets has suffered. Also, due to the enormous flood of mediocre pot hitting the streets (it’s known as the infamous ‘turkey bag’ weed up here in Oregon), the laws of supply and demand take over, and the whole industry suffers as a result.
By no means am I saying that there is no good weed in Northern California. In fact, I have consumed some TOP QUALITY stuff from Northern Cali many times, recently. However, what I am saying is that there are LOTS of rookies in Northern California that have flooded in from out of state. These types of growers have only been producing crops for a couple years, and it shows in the quality/quantity that’s working its way up and down the I-5 corridor. There is WAY TOO MUCH outdoor Cali on the scene, and it’s changing the market dramatically. The previously mentioned article states that ‘prices are now much less than $2,000 a pound.’ That number is misleading for a few reasons, but it is still interesting (I will explain why in a minute).
First of all, if the article is referring to outdoor crops, then no sh#t it’s going to go for less than $2,000 a pound. Outdoor harvests have been ‘processed’ since October, and the longer it sits in the infamous turkey bags, the worse it’s going to smell, look, and taste. I have seen some outdoor turkey bags up here in Eugene, OR lately that barely resemble weed! Also, as with any marijuana purchase, it’s going to depend on the amount. Are we talking one pound, ten pounds, 100 pounds, etc? I know a guy that just bought 25 pounds for 20g of some turkey bag (good luck getting rid of that!).
I know another guy right now that is trying to push 3 pounds of outdoor Cali for $4,000. That’s significantly lower than the NPR analysis! But you have to take NPR with a grain of salt; they probably had some rookie reporter that went in wide-eyed and gullible. If you send an East Coast reporter to the Emerald Triangle, and they are looking at hundreds of pounds and plants for the first time in their life, they will probably believe anything they are told! The moral of the story is still valid though; prices are dropping as more people enter the marketplace, and only the best growers will continue to thrive.
The article highlights a growing problem; there is just too much weed on the West Coast, and the supply continues to grow (literally!). People that have been growing killer weed for decades are now being pushed out of the market by ‘out of staters’ that are flooding WA, OR, and CA. Don’t get me wrong, if you get a medical card and grow the FINEST indoor super chronic, you will NEVER have a problem getting rid of it, anywhere or anytime. I know a circle of friends that grow some ‘trainwreck’ that would demand top dollar in any market. But, for every circle of friends like those I just mentioned, there are 1,000 circles of friends that are pumping the market with mediocre, outdoor ‘turkey bag.’
I remember before ‘Operation Frozen Timber,’ there was no outdoor Cali up here in Oregon, at least not on a large scale. I would see ‘nugs from Humboldt’ every now and again when friends would go there to visit, but I never saw pounds of it here in Oregon. The weed here at the time was probably 10% locally grown, and 90% imported from BC (educated guess). A BC pound came in two gallon bags, which were both inside of one heat sealed bag, and always had funny numbers, symbols, and/or initials on the corner of the heat sealed bag.
Prices ranged from about $2,500 to $3,600 depending on the factors that I named above. Chances are, if you were paying less than that amount, you either had the ultimate hook up, or you were buying something so awful it never left your possession except on front (and even then it probably didn’t sell!). Not everyone could get into the industry, because you had to either know (or be) a quality/local grower, or have ‘a friend’ in Washington. From what I could tell, most of the Emerald Triangle weed stayed in Cali, and eventually made its way South down I-5.
That all changed when Operation Frozen Timber happened. I will never forget when my hook at the time was complaining to me about how hard it is to find ‘work.’ All he had was football sized ‘turkey bags’ of really crappy, outdoor weed. It lacked crystals, taste, color, etc. Of course, he could still get batches of local for top dollar, but as far as quantity was concerned, all he had was the ‘turkey bag.’ It was cheap as hell, around $2,000 bucks a pound, but even then, I didn’t want anything to do with it. Neither did anyone else that I knew up here in Oregon!
Now, combine the drought of BC buds on the West Coast with the passage of SB 420 in California just a few years earlier. The unquenchable appetite for marijuana on the West Coast was not going anywhere, while at the same time unbelievably sweet rules were in place in Northern Cali. The perfect storm for a ‘turkey bag’ market was created. Now we live in a world where 90% of the bulk product on the West Coast is outdoor, and about 10% is super quality indoor chronic. The people that make the 10% reign supreme, while the people in the 90% are left to live off a diet full of Top Ramen and PBJ sandwiches…
The problem is only going to grow, as more people move West for the ‘marijuana gold rush’ that you always hear investigative reporters talk about. People with the finest weed will sell it to dispensaries and the lucky few, while the non-medical masses get to sift through the ‘turkey bags.’ Long time dealers and growers will continue to be pushed out, as they have to compete with so many more rookies. There is one thing that I think could change all that; if BC buds came back onto the scene. I have talked to HUNDREDS of people in BC that are sitting on more indoor dank then they could ever know what to do with. The prices are comparable to the ‘turkey bag,’ but the quality is undeniable.
If somehow that was to flood back onto the scene, things would change dramatically. Dealers and dispensary owners would benefit from having access to more quality product at a reduced price. Long time growers would benefit, because they would still be able to sell their quality product and the crappy growers would get weeded out because their crappy weed wouldn’t sell. People would quit moving West for the ‘pursuit of medical marijuana’ because it wouldn’t be as easy to compete. But then again, who knows…maybe marijuana just becomes legal, and it can be traded like any other valuable commodity! If that were ever to occur, who knows what would happen (other than massive celebrations)!