Pot Growers Troubled by Falling Prices

Decriminalization has led to pot crop deflation

By Jackson West
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 10:23 AM PDT
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Marijuana becoming as mainstream as KFC could mean a shakeout among producers, with potency, consistency and economies of scale coming into play.

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Longtime Humboldt resident Charley Custer tells National Public Radio that back in the early days of President Ronald Reagan's "War on Drugs," locally grown marijuana was selling for as much as $5,000 a pound.

Now, pot farming is going mainstream. Legal distribution through medical marijuana dispensaries and a ballot initiative in November offering to make recreational use legal are creating a legitimate commodity. A flood of supply means prices have dropped considerably.

The East Bay Express calls some of the claims in the report disingenuous, suggesting that unsubstantiated claims and the vast difference in product quality could account for price fluctuations.

"What's happening is the people that don't have quality product aren't selling it," said medical cannabis grower Tim Blake.

While obviously getting reliable historical data from a violently marginalized market is difficult, more and more stories are popping up suggesting a significant fall.

It also has implications for efforts to tax what's possibly the state's largest cash crop, because a drop in prices from increased supply might invalidate current estimates of the trade and its value.

Photo by Flickr user TheTruthAbout….

Jackson West recommends processing low-grade crops to preserve and add value, such as hashish, clarified pot butter and tinctures.

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