Why Legal Cannabis Is More Expensive
October 16, 2019
The legalization of marijuana has brought all sorts of perks with it. But one thing it hasn’t necessarily brought is lower prices.
It’s certainly much more convenient and far less risky to purchase your marijuana from a legal storefront, but the black market might still have your favorite shop beat when it comes down to the bottom line.
Why is this exactly? Let’s take a look at the factors which drive the price of legal pot up.
1. Production Regulations
To grow marijuana legally requires a variety of licenses and permits. It requires facilities to be constructed and maintained based on a strict code of regulations and are subject to frequent inspection from government officials.
These regulations ensure that marijuana is being produced in a safe and healthy manner. They are ostensibly created to help protect both consumer and grower, but this regulatory framework comes with a real financial cost.
In contrast, black market growers have no regulations to follow. They can use any methods, utilize illegal fertilizers and pesticides, and grow in suboptimal conditions. While this laissez-faire approach has the potential to produce sub-standard or even potentially hazardous products, it can substantially reduce costs involved in growing.
Illegal dealers don’t concern themselves much with packaging. Black market marijuana probably comes in the simplest, cheapest container around — something like a basic plastic Ziploc baggie.
Legal marijuana must be packaged according to strict guidelines and clearly labeled with information about dosage, strain, weight, and other pertinent information. These packages must be approved child-safe containers.
Such containers aren’t free and contribute to the increased cost of legal marijuana. Further adding to the price is the intricate branding and designs often incorporated into this packaging.
3. Strict Product Testing
To sell marijuana legally, it must first be tested. These rigorous tests look for contaminants including chemicals like arsenic, lead, mercury, and pesticides, as well as bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.
Stringent testing doesn’t only look for contaminants, either. It also tests the contents of the marijuana, measuring levels of THC and CBD, terpene content, and other important data related to cannabinoid dosage and weight.
This testing helps ensure that products are safe and can be accurately dosed, improving the customer’s experience and keeping them safe from potentially toxic contaminants. However, it also means increasing the cost, as all of these high-tech tests don’t come cheap.
Black market marijuana doesn’t undergo any form of testing. You simply get whatever you’re given and have to hope that it is not contaminated and that it is actually potent. While this keeps the price low, it also means you’re risking your health and hoping you don’t end up with low quality marijuana.
Like many substances used for recreational purposes, marijuana is heavily taxed by the government. This allows them to finance the necessary regulatory bodies for testing products and scrutinizing growers, as well as generate profitable revenues from the sale of legalized marijuana.
These taxes increase the cost to consumer of legal marijuana products by several percent, compared to the tax free illegal market.
Stick with Legal Weed
Although purchasing legally from a cannabis store may be marginally more expensive, this is money well spent.
The extra price ensures you’re getting high quality products grown in a safe environment. It keeps you safe from contaminants, ensures growers comply with environmental regulations, and substantially improves the quality of the product by requiring labels and testing of THC and CBD content. It allows you to know the precise dosage of what you’re consuming and even keeps children and animals safe with protective packaging.
These are all benefits of legalization which should not be taken lightly. Making marijuana safe and accessible for all adults is not something which should be taken for granted. It is a complex task requiring infrastructure and employees who can test and regulate every step of the process of growing and selling marijuana.
Find a reliable local cannabis store and support their efforts! Not only will you be getting better and safer products, your purchases will go towards supporting the growing legal marijuana industry and help ensure that safe, high quality marijuana can be available for everyone.
Purchasing from a cannabis store is a quick and simple process. Feeling intimidated? Learn everything you need to know about buying from a cannabis store with some help from our blog.