Market Overview

Study Allows Investors To See Changes In Cannabis Pricing Over Time

Study Allows Investors To See Changes In Cannabis Pricing Over Time

By Josh Koebert.

Cannabis has long been a big business in the United States in one form or another, but with the drug becoming partially or fully legalized in states at a rapid pace more and more of that business is leaving the black market and coming into the light. At present marijuana has been legalized for medical use in 33 states and recreational use in 11, with some industry estimates putting the retail value of the mairjuana industry in the United States around $10 billion in 2018 with projections for rapid growth going forward. 

Given the value of the existing market and all signs pointing towards more states adopting legalized marijuana in the future, it is apparent that cannabis is an industry that is only getting bigger. With the marijuana market emerging as a societal and economic force in America, potential investors would do well to educate themselves on the existing price points for the drug in black markets around the country as well as using data from markets where it has already been legalized to help predict the impact of future legalization efforts. 

Studies of marijuana pricing in states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon that were early adopters of legalized marijuana have shown that legalization consistently results in the per gram prices of cannabis falling, and sometimes falling drastically. These studies have concluded that the increased competition in the market forces the black market to reduce prices to compete with legal, state-sanctioned options, which forces those legal suppliers to respond in kind to keep up. All of this competition and price shifting ultimately brings both the legal and black markets to a reduced price point, to the benefit of consumers. 

Those studies largely focus on states where cannabis has already been made legal and while those kinds of evaluations can be instructive when it comes to general speculation as to how the industry will respond in states newly entering the legal market, they don’t include data on how the existing black markets are performing. Understanding the current state of a given illicit marijuana industry can provide potential investors a firmer understanding of how valuable and healthy that market may be post-legalization. 

Recently, a new report analyzed historical data on the price of marijuana. That can benefit investors looking for exactly that kind of information. The report used a database where users submit data on how much they have personally paid for marijuana as well as their location and the quality of the drug. The report shows pricing data in every state in America going back a decade to 2010. Having gathered information on what cannabis users have paid for medium and high-quality marijuana in every state over the last decade, the report compiled all of the data into static graphics, seen below, and an interactive map that users can operate on their site.

This study reinforces studies claiming that legalization drives down prices, as it shows user-submitted marijuana prices declining in nearly every state where recreational use has been allowed. This change is shown to be generally consistent regardless of marijuana quality, although high-quality cannabis does appear to experience a greater impact. 

What may be more interesting, however, is the data on states where recreational marijuana use is still illegal. Despite the forced reliance on a black market in the absence of a legal alternative, most non-legalized states have seen a similar decrease in marijuana prices, including a number where the decline in pricing is just as significant as in states where the drug is legal. 

This data would suggest that the available supply of marijuana is increasing around the country at a rate outsripping demand, forcing black market dealers to undercut one another to keep or grow a customer base, even without competition from legal sources. Given how black market pricing has been shown to impact the price point of legalized operations, this kind of information can go a long way towards helping any speculators and investors towards predicting which markets will be the strongest and weakest as legalization creeps ever closer to nationwide status.    

Josh Koebert is a digital marketer and reporter with a background that includes work in the worlds of sports, entertainment, and gambling. Among other things, his current work frequently involves topics relating to cannabis, business, and the business of cannabis.  

Photo by Javier Hasse. Charts by

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: Josh Koebert Price of Cannabis Price Of Marijuana Price of PotCannabis News Markets General Best of Benzinga


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