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Legal vs. Black Market? Thread Rating: 15 votes, 3.67 average.
Old 05-31-2010, 06:48 PM
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Legal vs. Black Market?
Dispensary vs. Caregiver?

Are the prices of quality marijuana in medical dispensaries comparable to that of the black market? We’ll see…

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..
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:12 PM
Let's Get Small!
Join Date: 01-20-2004
Posts: 4833
A point to consider. Most of the dispensaries in NorCal that I've been to also provide FREE cannabis to collective members who can't afford it.

I've seen growers who specifically donate weed and hash for those who can't afford it.

So buying your medicine thru a dispensary often means they can provide this free medicine to those in need. In fact, since collectives/dispensaries aren't supposed to make a profit, they must either give away any extra product, or pass on more savings to those who pay for their medicine.

I find it odd that in Washington state people regard caregivers as a black market. Real flaw in the law. In Cali, caregivers can be more open about what they do. They can grow a lot more too (depending upon location). I believe their prices may even be less than dispensary prices since they don't have as much overhead.

At some point I think the disparities from state-to-state might have to be resolved, possibly by federal law. Otherwise there will be too much interstate commerce in cannabis, when it's not even necessary if the laws were more sane.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:44 PM
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Join Date: 01-27-2010
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Posts: 166
This article is way off. Not sure how you justify these numbers. You fail to mention a lot of stuff, such as those caregivers that have to purchase separate locations to grow, there is overhead big time. All the food,soil, the time dedicated to growing,attention to detail and so on. Keep in mind my friend if not for the cg's/growers there would be no "Medical Cannabis". Dispensaries were not voted on they are a by-product of the industry growing and becoming legit. And last considering the current laws everywhere any cg making quality meds is taking a risk of losing everything just like a dispens, even more so since disp. do not have to deal thugs in the neighborhood getting curious. So please re-figure your figuring man that is so un-just. And why the hell can't both cg's and dispn's exist together? Finally I give all my patients free meds monthly as well as the lowest prices in the state, bar none! The Pepsi Challenge awaits any skeptics.
Old 05-31-2010, 07:49 PM
Join Date: 11-15-2009
Posts: 164
heres how the 8th price is set in lots of cali dispenseries. say the growers price is 4800 per lb divided that by 454 then multiply by 7 that is the price per 8th so an 8th is 74$
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:06 PM
Join Date: 07-12-2009
Location: Mostly in my own head
Posts: 4951

What happened to "JUST LEGALIZE IT!"

You don't want too much interstate commerce "Just Legalize It!"

You don't want to pick sides between caregivers / dispensaries / transporters / growers / vendors, "Just Legalize It!"

Why is there a call from this community for more LAW and abiding by the LAW as regards cannabis? Do we want more LAW for any other form of agriculture?

Old 05-31-2010, 08:07 PM
Eyes Wide Open!
Join Date: 01-20-2004
Location: The Milky Way
Posts: 5479
I must admit there is wide variation in pricing for medical patients. Paying more than $45 for an eighth in some areas, I have heard of the $80 eighths in other places in California, where access to a collective or dispensary is limited.

One way or another we need to remain eternally vigilant to the forces (both governmental and commercial) that would raise the prices further in the pursuit of high-profit margins and taxation.
Old 05-31-2010, 08:18 PM
Join Date: 07-12-2009
Location: Mostly in my own head
Posts: 4951

There are NO high-profit margins under total LEGALIZATION. Abnormal profits only come from barriers to entry and supply demand imbalance.

This is a weed, easy as shit to grow, but for governments it would have no greater cost than any other agriculture product.

We should call it like it is the governments are responsible for 100% of the complaints laid at the feet of growers and dispensaries a like.

Cannabis restrictions are an immoral infringement on human rights. Lets remain vigilant to the forces that would keep us chained and caged. Until that is fixed there will always be those in the game who abuse others and disregard sound business practices.

Old 05-31-2010, 09:13 PM
Join Date: 07-10-2008
Location: (831) / (310) / (209)
Posts: 5079
^^best post.

why place laws and regulations on a PLANT?!

let it grow like lettuce, and sell for as much.
Current grow: Motherlode Gardens 2015
Old 06-01-2010, 12:37 AM
Join Date: 03-30-2010
Location: Ina galaxy far, far away
Posts: 120
Just as any business, there are start up costs... and legal considerations. An experienced and efficient grower can bring their cost of production down to around a dollar a gram... if a grower or 'provider' can not be efficient then the supply and demand' will move forward without them. (that question pissed a few off, so take the info as is...)

Black market/Drug war prices be damed. I make no value judgment on someone that takes risks with their lives to provide a product or service to the waiting masses. But for this 'someone/anyone' to try to justify their Black market prices and to rationalize their Black market profits make me more than a little ill.

There are those of us who are legaly involved with Cannabis. I do not always grow. However, when I have grown my own I have always ended up with ten+ times as much as I could use myself.

I am thinking that the Not For Profit model is the only way to go.

Patient helping patient. Clubs and collectives to meet and socialize, with no buying or selling... and no 'donation' ... with out a receipt.

But then, what do I know? Im just a cranky old guy with a secret in my closet.
'Dammit Jack, why do you always get to go first...'

You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live. Ayn Rand
Old 06-01-2010, 12:50 AM
Join Date: 10-18-2009
Location: west coast
Posts: 187
still, what the fuck is my time worth? $10 an hour? no way, made more cooking food. $20 an hour? nope, i get paid that to make fences. $30 an hour? i made that blowing glass, and driving a car. i have been studying this subject for what, 7 years, and other people 30+ years. what is that worth an hour, we are professionals hopefully... who should get paid, the artist or the sales man? and the prices are way off, try $250 as a better OZ price, and 3k as a pound price. at least in the PNW i know.
Old 06-01-2010, 02:00 AM
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Join Date: 01-27-2010
Location: The Skunk Lair
Posts: 166
I am doing......
$40 1/8s
$75 1/4s
$150 1/2s
$290 Oz
Any strain I have, with a selection of 7 or more at all times. I will not be bitch slapped because a bunch or crying bitches want to try to bring prices down now when shit is barely legal. Do not insult my art by trying to get me to lower my prices!
Old 06-01-2010, 02:12 AM
Join Date: 03-30-2010
Location: Ina galaxy far, far away
Posts: 120
ilovethewest, wether it is 7 years or 30, if the market is changing we have to grow or go. Fact of life.
Take away the Black market profits and maybe life long growers will have to find new line of work... to make that kind of mad cash.
It is not my opinion to shut anybody down or cut anybody off. It is my opinion that to remove the Black market profits, the black market will go find some place else were the profits are easier. Go back to selling to the high school stoners, minimum wage-slaves and middle management. The cash is still there, the market is still there, the profit is still there... the risks and excitement (!) is still there.

Yes, what is your, mine, anybodies time worth? No matter what, no matter how legal or un-criminal Cannabis gets, there will always be a market for it.

Some of the local PNW 'providers', big and small, have salaried growers.

I dont think I could do that.
'Dammit Jack, why do you always get to go first...'

You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live. Ayn Rand
Old 06-01-2010, 02:35 AM
Join Date: 07-12-2009
Location: Mostly in my own head
Posts: 4951

Market participants do not set price the market sets price based on supply and demand.

All ICmagers should be free to grow, smoke, buy, and sell cannabis as we see fit. Instead of wondering how the market justifies price, why don't you ask how the tyrannical majority justify violating human rights?

If this were a discussion about how to make the most money the quickest, farming wouldn't come close to the best method. People grow for many reasons but if it were money only wouldn't cooking up meth be much more profitable? Couldn't I make many batches in the time it takes my plant to flower?

So you may not like market participants trying to justify price, I don't like people violating the freedoms of their neighbors. If you don't like the quality of a mans wares or the price of his goods, don't buy or buy elsewhere or grow your own. But for god's sake please leave it there we don't need help from the government, as if locking up more people would make things better.

Old 06-01-2010, 06:19 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: 12-21-2008
Location: In the hills mang....i DEEED it...
Posts: 9856
at the club....between 45-65 an 8th for top shelf...zones for 340 usually....HARBORSIDE PRICES

on the street...usually never more than 45 an 8th....200-250 a zone
Old 06-01-2010, 07:16 AM
Join Date: 04-02-2010
Posts: 223
the price on the black market,is not stable and can cost from 3000eu 1kg,to 1000eu a kg,it is mostly conected to whenewer it is indoor,outdoor ,how much weed there is(if litle weed was produced the price will be higher and vie verce)...

Old 06-01-2010, 05:03 PM
Join Date: 02-14-2010
Location: South Bound
Posts: 35
Damn, all these prices over on the westside is on the lowlow!! 15 years ago when Silver haze hit Ga., prices were 450 a zip, now they are like 750.. thats why I got SuperSilverHaze, Strawberry Haze and a few more.. I wanna retire this year and maybe go legit!! Haha.. It sucks to have to sell at that price, but they cut your balls off here in the south for the stuff!! You want the best you gotta pay for it...I seen lemon skunk haze go for 200 a quarter 0 last week, and they couldnt get the bags filled fast enough. A fat sack(lb) of that shit was 10 flat!! Again they wasnt enough to keep everyone happy. Just cant grow it fast enough. Beasters here are like 4 a lb. The funk 65 plus a lb. and swag runs a 7 to 950 a lb. A few guys I know in the swag business said back durring 9/11 was going on,they locked the borders down and not shit was comming across. If you found a lb. of that shit it was like 1800 a lb. Thats fucking crazy.
"I'm ameriCAN not ameriCANT" fire that mother up..
Old 06-01-2010, 05:56 PM
Join Date: 05-26-2010
Location: between grinds
Posts: 208
You are missing Trichriders' point...

The point? Grow your own!

it didn't sound like trider was on one side or the other, more like neither...
someday we will all get along!
Old 06-01-2010, 07:38 PM
Join Date: 10-31-2008
Posts: 653
The last thing we need is more laws.. Especially Federal Laws.. It's the states business in determining marijuana laws. We don't want Feds near anything.. The reason for the high costs is because of the huge demand.. There is almost never market saturation of weed.. No matter how much is grown or smuggled the demand is only growing.. Therefore prices will always reflect that.. The market basically operates the same as gasoline haha.. It's just a market that almost cannot be saturated.. There will never be a reason for the prices to drop.. If anything they will continue to rise and rise.. If you want lower prices then grow your own.. Other then that stop crying.. Selling weed is a business first and foremost.. You can call it "care-giving" or whatever other euphemism you want but business law applies to all products even this one.. Theres no way around it.. So either grow, pay or stop smoking... Those are your choices...
Old 06-01-2010, 07:58 PM
Join Date: 01-01-1970
Seems that gram and eight prices are relative stable and have been for some time. The part that varies is the profit for the person buying the pound.
Old 06-01-2010, 09:02 PM
Join Date: 04-15-2010
Location: between CB1 and the singularity.
Posts: 6068
I apologize for any confusion in my article, it seems I should have stated clearly that I am a registered Washington mmj patient and that confusion led to speculation that this had something to do with the Cali collectives/dispesaries. Also should have pointed out that the dispensary scene referred to was the CO area.
Until the busts in Tacoma went down I had no idea there were dispensaries/collectives in Washington State (I grow sowhy look?). I was just tired of paying someone else to do what could just as easily be done by me (with FULL knowledge of the product)
I was not advocating for either.
Seems that SHARING information and viewpoints is grating on nerves! I know people that grow and/or provide marijuana to anyone must hone their paranoia to a comfortable level just to be able to survive.
Thrillseekers succomb!

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