Brendan McCormick, sales director for wholesale marijuana provider Bonsai Cultivation, believes wholesale marijuana prices are actually higher than the DOR's estimates now that outdoor grows are done harvesting, reaching anywhere from $1,000 to $1,300 per pound.
"We've seen a fair amount of movement in the last six weeks. Things seem to be tightening up after the outdoor harvests are done," McCormick says. "There's fluctuation by season. In the fall, you see the harvest season come through. Summertime is always tough, though: It's hotter in Colorado, and harder to control the environment outside or in the grow."
Previous DOR estimates line up with his assessment of seasonality, with wholesale marijuana prices dipping a little over 10 percent from July to October (harvest season) in 2018, then jumping back up to virtually the same price by July of this year.
The span of stable prices comes shortly after heavy fluctuation during the first several years of recreational legalization. In 2015, wholesale marijuana prices peaked at over $2,000 per pound and were still as high as $1,300 in late 2017. But by the end of 2018, prices had plummeted to $759 per pound. McCormick remembers the biggest fall coming in November 2017, when wholesale marijuana prices "dropped 30 to 40 percent almost overnight."
Evan Owen, chief marketing officer for marijuana extraction company Clear Cannabis, points to more cultivations opening for business as a prime reason for the sharp fall, particularly large outdoor operations in southern Colorado. "More producers came online around then, and so did the amount of people who were buying," he remembers. "That was also when Pueblo County came online, and those outdoor grows are big."
Wholesale flower prices aren't the only pot products getting cheaper. The price of marijuana trim — cannabis leaves that are extracted to make concentrates and infused products — dropped $100 in the DOR's most recent estimate. That, and more infused-product manufacturers entering the market, has created a better market for concentrate customers, Owen adds.
"It's just more competitive out there for everyone," he says.
Despite the lower prices, McCormick says marijuana producers tend to breathe easier with less fluctuation — and that trickles down to the consumers, now accustomed to falling prices at dispensaries over the lpast two years.
"Customers are used to going in for the past year and seeing $25 eighths, and stores will generally try to keep up with that," he says. "It's now more about branded items on the market — packaging, and getting things to customers that have our name on it so they can understand it's worth paying for more."