Since the recreational legalization in Washington two years ago, there has been many changes to the outlook on marijuana, but it also has had another, unexpected, effect; it made marijuana cheaper. A recent review of the price data of Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board by Steve Davenport of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, found that over the past two years, the price of legal cannabis has decreased dramatically.
Starting at upwards of $20 USD per gram in 2014, the average retail price of a gram of cannabis in Washington is now $9.32 USD.That number will continue to decline, according to Caulkins claiming that prices “are now steadily falling at about 2 percent per month. If that trend holds, prices may fall 25 percent each year going forward.”
Although the state itself might not be excited to be losing out on their tax profits, there is also the likelihood that this decrease in cannabis price will offset the loss of money by reducing the desire to buy from black-market dealers. This shift could lead to the decrease in public spending for law enforcement.
Caulkins claims that marijuana will only get cheaper in the future, but how cheap is staggering, “It’s just a plant. There will always be the marijuana equivalent of organically grown specialty crops sold at premium prices to yuppies, but at the same time, no-frills generic forms could become cheap enough to give away as a loss leader – the way bars give patrons beer nuts and hotels leave chocolates on your pillow.”