Understanding the cost of cannabis is essential for patients seeking relief. So, how much is weed? What price ranges should cannabis newcomers expect when they step into a dispensary or pharmacy for the first time?
Marijuana prices are affected by a wide range of factors, and we’ll break those down in this article. We’ll also explore additional costs cannabis shoppers should look out for and offer savings tips for medical marijuana patients on a budget.
If you’re looking for a guide that can help you set a realistic dispensary budget, read on.
Average Weed Prices
Before we dive into the average cost of weed, there are a few important things to remember about pricing information:
- Pricing is highly region-specific – Prices can vary widely by state and region—similar to other commodities like gas and groceries, marijuana is typically more expensive in big cities than it is in rural areas. For instance, an eighth of flower from Trulieve (a popular dispensary operating in multiple states) is around $50 in Scottsdale, Arizona (a mid-sized city) but only around $40 in Brooksville, Florida (a very small town).
- It can be difficult to find exact prices – Not all dispensaries post their prices online, and some only post prices for some of their products. While there’s a widely-used marijuana price index compiled from user-submitted data that breaks down average prices by country and state, this list likely reflects more black market sales than legal sales.
- Quantities vary based on product type – Oils, waxes, flower, and tinctures are all distinct cannabis products. They’re all sold in varying weights and feature unique cannabinoid concentrations. So, it can be difficult to determine a simple per-gram rate for THC, CBD, or any other cannabis compound.
With all of the above in mind, the previously-mentioned price index lists the following average prices in the US (as of late September 2023):
- High-quality marijuana costs $318.72 per ounce (or $11.38 per gram)
- Medium-quality marijuana costs $256.08 per ounce (or $9.15 per gram)
But questions remain, like do these reflect dispensary prices or only black market sales? What separates “high-quality” weed from “medium-quality” weed according to this index?
Although the index doesn’t answer either of these questions, it’s still one of the most comprehensive sources for marijuana pricing available right now.
The best way to get a feel for actual weed prices in your area is to:
- Talk to a medical marijuana doctor
- Visit a dispensary or pharmacy
- Understand the factors that can impact pricing
Factors Affecting Weed Prices
Let’s explore some elements that might impact the cost of marijuana in your area. Understanding these factors can help you set a realistic budget, make informed purchases, and predict how changes might impact weed prices over time.
Geographic Location and Local Laws
Cannabis prices vary significantly by state due to differences in:
- Supply and demand
- State regulations
Additionally, costs tend to be highest in states where cannabis is newly legal and lowest in states with a well-established legal market.
Legal Status (Medical vs. Recreational)
The legal status of marijuana in your state can also impact the price. In general, marijuana tends to be cheaper in states with medical-only legalization and more expensive in states with recreational legalization.
In states with decriminalization (but not medical or recreational legalization) laws, dispensaries are largely non-existent. So, if you choose to buy weed in one of these states (like North Carolina), you might have to contend with the black market. Black market prices are generally different from dispensary prices (skewing lower), but black market products are largely unregulated and quality can vary greatly.
Cannabis Strain and Quality
Just like wines, different cannabis strains have different prices. Why?
- Different strains have different concentrations of cannabinoids. A strain of flower with a high concentration of THC is likely priced differently than a strain with a high concentration of CBD.
- Different strains feature different qualities. While marijuana is well-regulated in states with a legal market, “quality” can be highly subjective.
Let’s talk more about the point above. High-quality strains often come with higher price tags, but what is “high-quality marijuana?” Depending on who you ask, “quality” might refer to:
- Experience (i.e., whether or not effects are long-lasting)
- Cultivation, harvesting, and processing practices
- Ratio of cannabinoids
- Physical appearance
It’s important to note that, in many cases, quality and THC concentration don’t always correlate. The latter is an objective measure of a compound and the former is mostly subjective. That said, you’ll develop preferences (and your own perceptions of quality) as you try more products and learn what you like.
Quantity Purchased (Gram, Eighth, Quarter, Half Ounce, Ounce)
Generally speaking, cannabis customers can expect to find bulk discounts on marijuana products. The more you buy, the cheaper the price per gram.
However, newcomers to cannabis should consider buying weed in small increments until they know what they like. Even though it might be cheaper to buy flowers by the ounce at your dispensary, you shouldn’t commit to such a high quantity until you’re sure that you like the product.
While you’ll figure out your preferences and benefit from bulk pricing in due time, there are other ways to save on marijuana while you experiment with different products (we’ll explore these in more detail later).
Source (Dispensary vs. Black Market)
Due to taxes and regulations, purchasing from a legal dispensary is typically more expensive than on the black market. If that’s the case, why spend more to buy weed at a dispensary?
- Purchasing from a regulated source ensures you’re getting safe, high-quality cannabis. When purchasing from a medical source, you’re assured of lab testing and a product that has been grown according to medical standards.
- Regulated products are consistent across batches—so, when you discover your favorite product, you can keep buying the same one (or similar items) and experience the same results.
- Legally speaking, it’s much less risky to purchase weed via legal means than it is to rely on the black market.
Between safety, consistency, and legal protections, the extra cost for dispensary products is worth every penny.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Aside from the base price of cannabis, taxes and fees can add a significant amount to the final price. This factor changes from state to state.
Often, medical patients pay less in taxes when purchasing their products than recreational users, but this isn’t always the case.
Keep in mind that many states have used tax revenue from marijuana sales for good:
- One-third of cannabis taxes in Arizona directly fund community colleges.
- Colorado spends every cent of its marijuana tax on public school facility improvements.
- Michigan splits most of its cannabis tax gains between public schools and road repairs.
- Washington spends half of its marijuana taxes on healthcare programs.
While these kinds of positive tax implications are often written into marijuana legalization ballot measures to sway skeptical voters, the result is a net positive for both medical marijuana patients and the beneficiaries of such legislation.
There are many ways to save money on cannabis—even if you’re a newcomer or you’ve never purchased through legal means before. Consider:
- Buying in bulk – Once you know which product (or type of product) you like, consider buying it in larger quantities. You’ll save on transport costs (because you’ll be taking fewer dispensary trips) and reap the rewards of bulk pricing.
- Joining a loyalty program – Many dispensaries offer loyalty, rewards, and discount programs for repeat customers. Once you find a dispensary you like, ask about any programs they offer.
- Growing your own marijuana – If it’s legal in your state (and if you have a green thumb), growing your own marijuana can offer substantial cost savings. But, growing is a skill: You’ll need to read up on best practices, laws and regulations, and products to use to produce high-quality cannabis. If growing marijuana isn’t legal in your state, the recent Farm Bill legalized hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3% THC concentration) growth, production, sale, and transport nationwide. Even a small hemp-growing operation could help offset your marijuana costs.
- Talking to your budtender about quality – While quality is subjective, high prices don’t always correlate to high quality. If you’re looking for a professional, expert opinion on quality and want to get the best products available within your budget, talk to a budtender at your local dispensary.
How Much Is Weed? It Depends.
The cost of weed can vary greatly, depending on many factors. As a patient or consumer, it’s essential to understand these factors to make informed decisions about cannabis purchases.
Remember, the goal is not to find the cheapest product but the one that helps you achieve your desired results—like decreased chronic pain, relief from anxiety, or improved sleep.
At TeleLeaf, we’ve experienced the therapeutic power of cannabis firsthand—that’s why we’re so passionate about connecting people with this holistic plant medicine. If you’re interested in starting your journey with medical marijuana, learn more about getting your medical card and discover the healing you deserve.
*Disclaimer: This blog is educational and does not promote illegal activities. Please follow your local laws regarding cannabis use.*
The price of cannabis varies depending on factors such as geographic location, local laws, legal status (medical vs. recreational), strain and quality, quantity purchased, and the source (dispensary vs. black market). On average, in legal dispensaries, one might expect to pay between $10 and $15 per gram.
It’s essential to understand variations and other costs, like taxes, when determining the overall price. Always prioritize product value over mere cost and stay compliant with local regulations.
Trulieve. Scottsdale Dispensary.
Trulieve. Flower, Brooksville, FL. https://shop.trulieve.com/flower/truflower-3-5g
Price of Weed. Data for the Price of Weed in the United States.
The Urban Institute. Cannabis Taxes.
Brookings. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization, and the Status of CBD: An Explainer.