There are now two states that permit legal recreational cannabis sales. Those two states of course are Colorado and Washington. Colorado has been authorizing legal recreational cannabis sales since January 1, 2014. Washington started legal recreational cannabis sales on July 8, 2014.
One thing that stands out to long time cannabis consumers are the prices for legal recreational cannabis. On opening day in Colorado, prices climbed as high as $100 for 3.5 grams of cannabis. Prices have since lowered as more supply has hit the market in Colorado. On opening day in Washington, the highest prices I saw were around $25 per gram. Compare those prices to estimated black market prices, which can be as low as $5 per gram in some areas for similar quality product.
A lot of people wondered if the high prices would deter people from purchasing legal recreational cannabis. Fortunately for tax revenue and supporters of the emerging legal cannabis industry, high prices don’t seem to bother customers. One quote I read from Oregonian reporter Noelle Crombie’s Twitter account stated that a guy named Mark Edwards would ‘smoke a bowl for schools any time.’ Noelle Crombie was at Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, Washington to report on their opening.
While I’d like to see prices lower than $25 per gram, I’m glad that customers see the benefit of supporting legal, regulated cannabis businesses rather than the black market. Supporting legal cannabis retailers supports hardworking Americans, schools, and public safety. When someone buys cannabis on the black market, often times they have no idea who their dollars are going to. How long will customers support prices that are so much higher than the black market? Only time will tell. But for now, prices don’t seem to bother customers, and in the case of Mark Edwards at Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, he’s glad to pay more.