The U.S.’s marijuana industry is poised to be among the fastest growing sectors of the economy, outpacing even the smartphone market’s booming growth, a new study says.
The legal marijuana market in the U.S. is projected to grow by 64 per cent over the next year, to $2.34 billion U.S., according to the second edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets reports.
But what about Canada? It seems despite its reputation for progressive attitudes on weed, the Great White North is falling behind its southern neighbour on the issue. One way this can be seen is in the prices people pay for pot.
A decade or more ago, high quality B.C. bud retailed on the streets of Los Angeles for as much as $600 per ounce, three times what it cost in B.C. According to PriceOfWeed.com, a website that crowdsources data on marijuana prices, an ounce of high-quality weed in California these days goes for about $249 U.S.
With the U.S. moving steadily towards more liberal policies on weed, Canada’s price advantage on weed has all but disappeared.
Below is a comparison of retail prices for marijuana in Canadian provinces and select U.S. locations. Surprisingly, even though B.C. has a reputation for being Canada’s marijuana capital, British Columbians actually pay more for weed than people in some other provinces. The most expensive weed in Canada? It's in Nunavut. At $783.86 per ounce, it's nearly double the price of the most expensive place to buy weed in the U.S. and easily the highest price on the continent.
Notably, weed is now much cheaper in the western U.S. than in the east, thanks to states like California, Colorado and Washington, who have pushed the legalization movement farther than in other parts of the country.
Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia now have medical marijuana programs. Another dozen or so states are debating the idea, and following Colorado and Washington’s successful marijuana decriminalization votes in the past election, more such votes are likely to take place in future elections.
But in Canada, reforms to the medical marijuana market meant to encourage the development of large-scale legal marijuana growers will actually mean higher prices for legal weed.
Legal pot currently retails at $5 per gram, well below street prices, but that price is projected to rise to $7.60 under Health Canada’s new system, and is expected to rise to $8.80 in several years’ time.
It’s not clear what impact the new medical marijuana regime will have on street retail prices.