After over a year of free-falling, marijuana prices are on the rise in Colorado, according to the state Department of Revenue. But several marijuana producers say those prices could be even higher than the state estimates.
According to the latest DOR estimates, wholesale marijuana flower is currently about $1,000 per pound, increasing by 17.5 percent from July to September, with trim, flower and whole plant matter allocated for extraction all rising in cost, as well. However, wholesale marijuana growers and dispensary general managers are telling us that wholesale flower prices are actually closer or above $1,300, and have been steadily rising all year.
According to the state's estimates, prices are still getting much higher. In October 2018, a pound of flower was less than $760, past DOR figures show, or 24 percent lower than it is now. These rising wholesale prices have led to customers paying more for flower and concentrate at dispensaries, so don't be surprised if those $15 eighths are now $20.
Why the increased costs? Industry sources we've talked to point to a number of reasons, including rising microbial issues in commercial grows, major suppliers limiting output, and new regulations that have changed how dispensaries stock their shelves — all of which, if true, could lead to supply shortages.
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There have been reported supply shortages across the state. Dispensary general managers have been calling wholesale producers around the clock, worried their dispensary's internal cultivations won't supply enough to meet demand.
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Seasons can also impact marijuana supply fluctuation. Although largely grown indoors, commercial pot is still a seasonal commodity, as a large chunk of flower and plant material designated for extraction come from outdoor growing operations. Because outdoor harvests only happen once a year, the supply traditionally dries up toward the end of summer and is replenished in October and November.
"You could get a pound for about $700 eight months ago," one dispensary manager says. "I suspect that prices will drop greatly once the outdoor harvest starts coming in around October."
If prices are still high around Christmas, this might be more than a phase.