As medical marijuana proliferates, pot prices decline
The price of cannabis, of course, varies wildly — depending on the strain purchased, its potency and the parts of the plant. Top quality pot in New York, for example, costs nearly $442 per ounce, while low quality is just $161, according to one website that tracks costs, PriceofWeed.com
n the whole, though, prices have been dropping nationwide over the past three to four years.
High Times magazine, in its October issue, declared "It's a buyer's market!", noting that the average price per ounce nationwide had fallen $49 in the past month alone.
Oregon boasts the country's cheapest pot, with the price of a high quality ounce running $259.13, according to PriceofWeed.com, a site that uses crowd-sourcing methodology to track marijuana prices around the country. (Anonymous users who buy the drug on the street input what they paid — and for how much — and the site averages out prices for the state or territory.) Montana comes in second at $273.87 per ounce. Both states are among the 14 to have passed laws allowing the medicinal use of the drug.
Georgia and Virginia are the states with the most expensive cannabis, both coming in at roughly $452 per ounce. Neither has legalized the drug in any form.
Geographically, pot tends to be more expensive along the East Coast — with the exceptions of Florida and Maine. Users there generally pay $425 or more for high quality product Midwest tokers pay a bit less.. And Western marijuana users – from Colorado onward –pay the least (typically less than $400 per ounce).
PriceofWeed.com is one of four sources insiders look to as they track the street price of pot. Allen St. Pierre, executive director of Norml (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) cites it as one his organization regularly monitors.
The others are the official DEA pricing index (which St. Pierre says is the least accurate), High Times' monthly Trans-High Market Quotations, and Weedmaps.com, which has employees call medical dispensaries weekly for price, potency, strain name and more and then determines pricing trends from that information.
But even with the cost declines of the past few years, prices remain steep, which surprises some people.
"The vexation for the customer has been that for years, the individuals who would pay [high costs for recreational pot] did so because suppliers had all these legal threats," says St. Pierre. "As that has been removed, there has not been a commensurate reduction in prices."
That doesn't mean it won't happen, though.
In California, the price of high-grade cannabis is down roughly 17% over the past 12 months — a trend that is likely to accelerate, due in part to changes in the business practices of marijuana farmers.
"Ten to 20 yeas ago, the people who were, for lack of a better term, the migrant marijuana workers were paid in cash," says St. Pierre. "Two or three years ago, they started getting paid in product … which they have trouble converting to cash, so they logically begin selling it illegally. People are walking to the dispensary with the mindset that they're going to pay X dollars, then these workers will undercut that by 50%. That phenomenon is the equivalent of having a wholesaler stop people before they walk into a Wal-Mart."
The rise of city-sanctioned grow farms, like those being planned in Oakland, could also put pressure on street prices of pot, because it would substantially boost supply.
And if more states pass medical marijuana laws and wider legalization efforts prove successful down the road, that should continue to impact prices.
A recent California ballot initiative to legalize the sale and consumption of marijuana (as well as tax it) was defeated, partly because producers feared it would result in drastically lower prices.
St. Pierre says Norml expects the price could eventually fall to something comparable to a pack of cigarettes.
Wyoming's medical marijuana decision spawns threat of City Council recall effort
WYOMING — Marijuana advocates want to kick the entire City Council out of office for enacting a ban on the drug that state law permits for medicinal use.
The council Monday reaffirmed a November vote, giving the ban a second and final reading that makes medical marijuana illegal within city limits.
Mayor Jack Poll, a pharmacist, and his peers said the voter-approved state law is dangerous because it does not regulate distribution of marijuana through typical medical channels.
Now Wyoming voters may be asked to choose which they stand behind: The 2008 statewide marijuana proposal or the elected seven-member council?
A lawyer who has sued the city now also plans a campaign to recall all seven elected officials: Sam Bolt, Dan Burrill, Kent Vanderwood, William Ver Hulst, Joanne Voorhees, Richard Pastoor and Poll.
John Ter Beek said he was scheduled to meet today (12-7) with the American Civil Liberties Union to pursue an injunction on Wyoming’s ban. He also is recruiting volunteers to circulate recall petitions.
“If I have to be recalled because I vote on preserving safety in our community, then so be it. Move somebody else into my chair,” Pastoor said. “The only way to handle (medical marijuana) is like we handle any other drug.”
In line with statewide results, voters in 27 of 28 Wyoming precincts supported the marijuana proposal in 2008.
“They went against the will of the voters,” Ter Beek said of the council’s actions on Monday.
Lynette Brunink, manager of Grand Rapids Alternative Care, a Grand Rapids Township clinic that certifies a patient’s medical need for marijuana, said the ban “is just like taking insulin from a diabetic.”
Dan Van Dussen, a marijuana patient from Holland, feared the decision may set precedent for other communities exploring regulation of medical marijuana.
“They’re making a knee-jerk reaction from a pharmacist’s point of view,” Van Dussen said. “What they do here, Holland is going to look at it and say ‘Wyoming did this.’”
The medical marijuana law permits licensed caregivers to grow up to 60 plants and distribute the drug to as many as five licensed patients, who can possess up to 2.5 ounces at a given time.
Ver Hulst said the medical marijuana proposal “sounded good (in 2008), just like apple pie and motherhood.” But “I guess I assumed it would be properly controlled by medical dispensaries,” he said.
He and his colleagues said medical marijuana should be dispensed through pharmacies. There’s also concern that enforcing the state law would burden city police at a time when Wyoming’s budget is strapped.
Jazmin Valencia, a recovering alcoholic, agreed with city leaders, saying odor from a marijuana patient who lives in her Wyoming apartment building creates unwanted temptation to break her sobriety.
“I feel I should be safe at home and I don’t feel that I am,” Valencia said. “We should push for more regulations. There is a better way to do it.”
Poll said he is “not at all” fearful of being recalled because the 2008 marijuana proposal was passed “without full knowledge of the ramifications.” Voters would not endorse the same proposal today, he said.
“I have a major problem with the way this is being dispensed,” Poll said. “This is not a vote against the people that need this medication. This is a vote against the way it’s being dispensed.”
Draft of Colorado Pot Rules Is A 90 Page Tome
Medical marijuana advocates and government representatives on Monday hammered out the final details of proposed new rules that would give Colorado the most comprehensive seed to sale cannabis business regulations in the nation. The rules would govern everything ranging from how a state regulates marijuana cultivation to how dispensary owners keep track of their sales, what makers of marijuana infused pastries should put on their labels.
Several of the rules would place Colorado in unprecedented territory, for instance, requiring marijuana growers to fit cameras at their growth operation so that state auditors can view their crop remotely.
The drafts were put together during more than 60 hours of meetings by the state Department of Revenue's medical marijuana rules work group, a collection of state officials, law enforcement officers, local government representatives and medical-marijuana business owners and patients. So this is just one step closer to all of our dreams that marijuana can become legal as it is a real stepping stone, after all we can’t really legalize marijuana without any state laws in place.
AP Enterprise Ariz Preps For Pot Shop Green Rush
One potential pot shop in Arizona would teach customers how to cook marijuana into treats like cookies and "potcorn." Another envisions offering massages, yoga classes, and marijuana meals to go, while a third wants a simple pharmacy-like shop next to an AIDS treatment centre. That's just the beginning. Now that Arizona voters have narrowly approved a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana, state officials are preparing for a green rush of sorts. They expect to be inundated with up to thousands of applications from would-be marijuana dispensaries, and with only 124 spots approved state wide, the majority will have to be turned away.
"Most other states, you hang out a shingle and you're a dispensary," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "I want to avoid those kinds of abuses." Arizona's medical marijuana measure won by just 4,341 votes this month of more than 1.67 million ballots counted, making the state the 15th to approve a medical marijuana law. Arizona officials are hoping to avoid the problems they perceive in other states, including California, where patients are reported receiving a pot recommendation from a doctor for having a headache.
What Could Be So Bad About Taking Medical Marijuana For Pain Relief
Leonhart is strongly opposed by the drug reform and medical marijuana communities, which had urged senators to ask her tough questions about DEA raids on medical marijuana providers, her refusal to approve a Massachusetts researcher’s request for permission to grow his own marijuana, and other grounds. None of the senators actually did ask about those issues during her confirmation hearings last month, although the senior pain relief issue was also aired then.
Most Widely Used Drug
DEA raids Okemos warehouse in medical marijuana case
OKEMOS — Federal officials raided a warehouse Tuesday used to grow medical marijuana.
Ryan Basore said law enforcement officials raided a 3,000 square-foot facility at 2360 Jolly Oak Road that he leased to registered caregivers to use for growing medical marijuana. Basore co-owns Capital City Caregivers, a medical marijuana shop at 2208 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing.
Basore said there were 40 plants in the building, and all were taken. He said other growing facilities near Jolly and Hagadorn roads also were raided, but he did not provide further details.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at 2360 Jolly Oak Road on Tuesday night, said Special Agent Rich Isaacson, public information officer for the DEA’s Detroit field division. Isaacson would not comment further, citing an ongoing investigation.
The DEA was assisted by the Tri-County Metro Narcotics Team, a multi-agency drug enforcement squad in Eaton, Ingham and Clinton counties
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