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Two states where pot is getting cheaper

Two states where pot is getting cheaper

Prices for legal pot are falling in Washington and Colorado, the two U.S. states where retail marijuana sales have already begun.

The average price of a gram of marijuana is currently about $12 in Washington, according to the latest data from the state’s Liquor Control Board. That’s down from about $30 at its peak in August of last year.

“As the market continues to grow, they’ll drop further than that,” predicts Brian Smith, spokesman for Washington’s Liquor Control Board.

Smith welcomes the declines. “One of the goals of the initiative in Washington was to be able to drive away the black market,” he said. “To do that, you need legal recreational sale prices to be on par with street prices.”

Prices for retail marijuana also are falling in Colorado, according to the latest quarterly report from Convergex, a New York-based global brokerage.

Colorado sold $700 million worth of marijuana in 2014, but as the state's legal marijuana business matures, stores “can no longer charge the high prices of last year,” Convergex wrote.

Discounts and deals also are becoming more prevalent. One shop offers edibles discounts on Tuesday, concentrates discounts on Wednesday and marks down joints on Fridays. And the site weedmaps.com offers a Groupon-style email of daily local deals.

Colorado doesn’t track prices in the same way Washington does, but through its quarterly surveys Convergex has found the price for an ounce of recreational marijuana has dropped to around $300 in the first quarter from as high as $400 previously.

"Aside from new entrants, contacts said their pricing power is tempered by individuals’ ability to grow their own marijuana at home," Convergex wrote.

One store was found to be selling an ounce for $240, about the same price as it would go for on the black market.

Still, the best strains often aren’t sold at deep discounts, said Christian Hageseth, founder of Denver’s Green Man Cannabis marijuana dispensaries. “Lower-end products are getting cheaper, but prices are holding strong for high-quality product,” he said.

His stores, whose strains regularly win the industry’s top awards, had their best April yet and have been able to hold prices steady, he said. “The people who are looking for a deal can find a deal,” Hageseth said. “But the whole market isn’t going that way.”

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