As of 2020, Colorado is closer to a decade of recreational marijuana being legal than a modern preschooler is to third grade. While it’s been a ride, the laws governing cannabis sales in the state evolve every year. One of the factors that influence these legal changes? The average price of weed in Colorado.
Colorado weed prices affect how much tax is collected. Legal weed prices also aid in reducing black market activity around cannabis, so long as they are low enough to prevent those selling it from being able to reliably turn a profit.
That’s why we created this guide – to describe how much weed in Colorado is, how much it differs across the state and why. Let’s dive in.
According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, in October 2020 the average price per pound of flower for growers to dispensaries was ~$1300.
Put another way, growers on average charge dispensaries the following:
$81.25 per ounce
$10.15 per ⅛ ounce
$2.88 per gram
Once dispensaries have received the flower, the price doubles or triples before reaching the buyer. This is the result of paying employees, renting property, buying equipment, and other business operation expenses.
In order to create a methodology that captures the consumer-end price, we’ve added 200-300 percent to the AMR price the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division uses for taxation.
Average Price Per Ounce in Colorado for Recreational Consumers: ~ $160 - $240
Average Price Per 1/8 Ounce in Colorado for Recreational Consumers: ~ $20 - $30
Average Price Per Gram in Colorado for Recreational Consumers: ~ $5.76 - $8.64
We will use these as benchmarks in the analysis below.
Prices of cannabis in Colorado vary based on brand, region, current specials, and dozens of other factors.
Built within this is a feedback loop for the state and cannabis producers and dispensaries.
Once every three months, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, known as Colorado MED, uses data from grower to manufacturer (like an edible producer) or seller (such as a dispensary) to determine an Average Market Rate (AMR). The AMR is the basis for taxes and is reviewed based on weight.
In the chart below, available on the Colorado Department of Revenue website, you can see that growers of marijuana in Colorado, on average, charge ~$1,300 per pound in October 2020. This is up 30 percent from ~$1,000 in October 2019. This is important for later.
(Pulled from CO DOR 11/25/2020)
Roughly speaking, by the time cannabis gets to the consumer the price per pound is double or more than the AMR (average market rate). This is in part because manufacturers and dispensaries have to pay staff, labor, as well as equipment, and licensing.
The other part?
Colorado marijuana laws place limits on both recreational consumers and medical marijuana patients.
Consumers can’t easily go out and buy a pound since the law limits recreational to an ounce, or 1/16th of a pound.
In the decades where cannabis was illegal entirely when a police raid created headlines like “$1 Million in Marijuana Confiscated”, it was an average market rate that allowed this headline to make sense. Police would use average street prices to evaluate the worth of a quantity. This applies equally to legal markets.
As of October 2020, Colorado MED pulls together purchase information from a total of 466 cultivators, 216 product manufacturers, and 416 medical or recreational stores as part of creating the AMR. When retail mark-up is added, our methodology will give us a standard price.
To remind you, we are using the following as baseline pricing:
Average Price Per Ounce for Recreational Consumers: ~ $160 - $240
Average Price Per 1/8 Ounce for Recreational Consumers: ~ $20 - $30
Average Price Per Gram for Recreational Consumers: ~ $5.76 - $8.64
Now let’s test these price estimates on some cannabis dispensaries in Colorado:
Strain: Crystal Gelato
Prices: $20 per 1/8th, $160 per ounce
Price: $140 per ounce
Strain: Cookies N’ Cream
Prices: $19 per 1/8th, $114 per ounce
Strain: G6 #3
Prices: $19 per 1/8th, $114 per ounce
Strain: GG #4
Price: $15 per gram, $32 per 1/8th, $155 per ounce
Strain: Sour Chunk
Price: $13 per gram, $32 per 1/8th, $150 per ounce
The above pricing samples and our baseline costs tell us a few things about weed prices in Colorado. We estimated the average cost per gram, based on Colorado DOR data, to be between ~$6 to $9. However, from our sample, we can see that the average cost per gram is much more.
The average cost per gram of weed in Colorado is between $10-$15.
This is likely because, as with most things, weed is cheaper when bought in bulk.
We estimated based on available data from the state of Colorado the average price per 1/8th would be between $20 and $30 dollars. Botanico was on the lower end of our estimated range at $20 per 1/8th. Medicine Man was $19 per 1/8th or $1 less than the estimated low.
Both Organix and The Lodge dispensaries show up at the higher end of our estimated price range, but only by a little. Both have an average price per 1/8th of $32, or $2 more than our $30 high estimate.
The methodology for estimating Colorado weed prices we established actually overestimated the price per ounce on nearly every count. Our methodology puts the average price per ounce at between $160 and $240.
Every dispensary fell at or below our benchmark of $160. Again, buying in bulk will always lower the price – with anything from soap to marijuana.