05-31-2010, 06:48 PM
Legal vs. Black Market?Are the prices of quality marijuana in medical dispensaries comparable to that of the black market? We’ll see…
Dispensary vs. Caregiver?
Using a sliding scale focusing on the L’bo price, (obviously you have to know where to start) I’ll compare what gram prices are for medical patients to the THMQ prices in HT magazine.
If the dispensaries are paying for product at $4000.00 per pound,
$4000. = $250.00 per oz = $9.00 per gram
$3500. = $219.00 per oz = $7.85 per gram
$3000. = $188.00 per oz = $6.70 per gram
$2500. = $156.00 per oz = $5.57 per gram
These prices do not reflect any markup in price that the dispensaries pass on to the patient, nor the tax applied, just cost to them.
THMQ on the other hand, quotes prices in the range of $418.00 per oz ($14.92 per gram or $5013.00 per pound) which means that black marketeers are definitely making some serious scratch providing meds to patients.
While THMQs’ prices are an average of submitted strains, the black market thrives by using these averages to justify prices apparently by branding what could possibly be just mids. There are many reviews stating that dispensary strains are just not what they claim to be. These dispensaries may have been bilked by unscrupulous growers further destroying their credibility as providers of medicine!
Since there exists no empirical data on consumption, by patients or recreational users, either using traditional methods or vaporization, I had to use a conservative estimate of one gram per day. One gram per day equates to one oz per month. At that rate you would spend $5016.00 per year. Go up to two grams per day and it begins to get pricey! You can see how it can become very expensive.
From what I have read, dispensaries are charging from $10.00 to over $20.00 per gram for medical grade marijuana. I used an average of $15.00 per gram. Realize that they have overhead to consider and the comparison goes out the door.
Having a medical recommendation from a doctor, I have in the past paid more for black market weed than the dispensaries are charging.
Washington state does not have dispensaries, not legally anyway, so to purchase meds you have to rely on the black market (CAREGIVERS). I do not know what I was being sold as the caregivers never branded their wares, but suffice it to say I was satisfied with my meds for the most part, but not with the price!
I cannot refute that the risk is great for illegal sales. The dispensaries have accepted the risk and are trying to be open and legal whereas the black market will continue to thrive on covert sales with the help of ridiculous laws and the THMQ quotes.
The point? Grow your own!
At an average of $300.00 per oz on the black market (average I paid in 2008), it took me less than four months to recoup my expenditure for a tent, light, ventilation, medium, and boutique seeds. There are ongoing costs for utilities, and medium, but they are negligible, bringing down my costs to acceptable levels.
My last run was just four plants and it provided me with twelve oz of dried USABLE meds, no seeds, lumber, or shake. Since I long ago recouped my initial outlay for equipment, this amount at black market prices cost around $5016.00 (using THMQ quote for KIND in July’s issue), while dispensary prices would be around $5040.00 for the same period. A years supply at a gram a day.
I admit that not everyone is capable of growing their own, but dispensaries are BUSINESSES. Businesses do not want to compete with caregivers or growers and since the STATE accepted the model of DISPENSARIES, the STATE will try to accommodate that model. This means caregivers must abide the law, and have just six plants per patient, and less than five patients. This pretty much shuts the door on what was up until now (NEXT YEAR) a free ride. The Caregiver model is the most just, but how to connect with someone who CARES?
Personal experience shows that Caregivers charge way too much for elderly infirm patients to afford. This is not to say every one of them is taking advantage of the situation, just that they do not have the overhead to justify their prices!
While prices charged are very close to the same, the dispensary must pay black market prices for their inventory. The difference being the taxes, licensure, operating expenses, and SMALL PROFIT.
Alternatively the Black Market makes a huge profit.
So if you are considering a medical marijuana card, take this to the bank with you. Confront your supplier with some basic knowledge of growing and pricing and ask them to quantify their prices. If they have been your provider for any length of time, know that it is VERY CHEAP for them to grow such a profitable yet indispensable item.
Last edited by Skip; 06-01-2010 at 05:22 PM..