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Latest Marijuana Wholesale Prices Drop, as the Cannabis Industry Stabilizes

United States marijuana wholesale prices have been in a free fall since their high price of $2100 per pound in June of 2016. As of January 1, 2017, the prices seem to have stabilized to an average of $1600 per pound nationwide. The $1600 per pound has been holding strong for over 6 months giving signals that the legal cannabis industry is stabilizing from a wholesale perspective.

With the marijuana wholesale price per pound establishing a 6 month trend, this could possibly mean that the commodity is finding its baseline for pricing nationwide. While the price per pound may look inexpensive from the top looking down, each state has different rules and regulations when it comes to taxation, making the actual price that the retail consumer pays vary.

Cannabis Benchmarks has released a new Mid-2017 Wholesale Market report on the spot prices for cannabis in legal markets. Cannabis Benchmarks is a division of New Leaf Data Services and gathers its pricing information from in-the-field reporters who contact cultivators and dispensaries, transaction data from market participants and data from vendors and associations.

For the first half of 2017, prices for cannabis were down significantly from 2016, but the market hasn’t experienced the big swings that characterized the 2016 market. Prices have been mostly stable, but California markets could become destabilized as growers shift to a regulated landscape and the black market fights back with cheaper prices.

According to the report, the U.S. Spot Index opened this year at $1,532 per pound, which was a nice recovery from 2016’s low price of $1,386 per pound. Prices peaked at $1,682 per pound in the last week of March as buyers sought to build up inventory for the 420 holiday. However, this is still lower than 2016’s peak price of $2,096 per pound. The big difference can be attributed to 2017’s marked level of stability. There has only been a spread of $150 between the half year’s lows and highs. The first half of 2016 experienced a spread of $296 between the highs and lows.

Cannabis Benchmarks
U.S. Spot index prices for cannabis for the first half of 2017.

That consistency and stability are a welcome change to the industry buyers even though the prices are down 18.6{f1d755e3d686d84b3fba3fb9da3bc25d6eb08724c18385fd50146d58c836a6dd} year over year for the first half. Last year, prices plunged in the summer when an oversupply from greenhouse growers flooded the market. This year it seems growers are selling in a fairly consistent manner and managing their inventory and cash flow more effectively. The buyers are also able to make purchases more consistently and a trend of smaller average deal sizes seems to have taken place.

The report said, “Last year, through the first six months of 2016, the average deal sizes of outdoor, greenhouse and indoor-grown flower were observed to be 29, 21, and 7 pounds, respectively. In 2017, individual transactions for outdoor, greenhouse and indoor product averaged volumes of 21, 11, and 6 pounds, respectively, between January and June.” Cannabis Benchmarks also believes that even though market outsiders believe there are lots of marijuana millionaires, the reality is that few operators are willing or able to do big deals since they mostly continue to operate in cash. Unfortunately, they end up paying higher prices since they can’t buy in bigger bulk. The Cannabis Benchmarks report found that buyers on average got a 24.8{f1d755e3d686d84b3fba3fb9da3bc25d6eb08724c18385fd50146d58c836a6dd} discount when buying 25 pounds and a 30.1{f1d755e3d686d84b3fba3fb9da3bc25d6eb08724c18385fd50146d58c836a6dd} discount for 50 pounds.

Colorado’s prices have fallen the least of any of the states as drastic increases in production capacity caused average prices to fall 33.5{f1d755e3d686d84b3fba3fb9da3bc25d6eb08724c18385fd50146d58c836a6dd} for the first quarter as compared to last year. Washington state’s prices are down 15.4{f1d755e3d686d84b3fba3fb9da3bc25d6eb08724c18385fd50146d58c836a6dd} for the same period. California, on the other hand, saw its spot index trend upwards through the first six months of the year. Prices opened at $1,413 per pound and hit a six-month high of $1,724. Outdoor grown marijuana though has slipped in price from an average of $1,542 per pound in the first six months of 2016 to $1,133 for 2017. “This trend is troubling for existing outdoor farmers hoping to enter California’s imminent licensed system. Such operations can require significant capital to come into compliance with the state’s extensive water and environmental quality regulations,” said Jonathan Rubin, Chief Executive Officer of Cannabis Benchmarks.

 

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