When it comes to cannabis laws in the United States, there are four things we know for sure:
1. There are some states where the use of cannabis is legal for medical purposes only.
2. There are some states where the use of cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational purposes.
3. There are some states where the use of cannabis is completely illegal.
4. Cannabis is completely illegal at federal level.
However, cannabis consumers should also know that when it comes to legalized states, not all things are equal. This includes pricing.
It is important to note that federal regulations hold back or impede the flow of money and commodities across state lines. Needless to say, there is an economic reason why cannabis products are priced differently in cannabis dispensaries across the country.
Prices are different in the East Coast and in the West Coast
According to Wikileaf, cannabis prices are different in the East Coast and in the West Coast. Wikileaf is a website that tracks and compares the prices of marijuana sold at various dispensaries across the country.
Wikileaf pointed out that marijuana sold at dispensaries on the West Coast are cheaper by 22.5 per cent than marijuana sold on the East Coast. This is mainly due to federal prohibitions on the transportation of cannabis across state lines, combined with the supply of cannabis growers in legalized states.
The site showed that an eighth of marijuana on the East Coast costs $46.3, while the same amount of the same product on the West Coast costs $36.
But wait, where is the East Coast?
The East Coast is made up of 14 states with a shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean. The East Coast states are New York, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.
Among the East Coast states, medical cannabis is legal in Alaska, Collecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. In Georgia and Virginia, only CBD oil with less than 5% of THC is legal, while in South Carolina, only CBD oil with less than 0.9% THC. In North Carolina, only CBD oil is allowed, too.
Recreational cannabis is legal in only two East Coast states: Massachusetts and Maine.
And where is the West Coast?
States on the West Coast are the mountain states of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, and the Pacific states that include Washington, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Medical cannabis is legal in these West Coast states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. In Utah, medical cannabis is legal for terminally ill patients only while CBD oil is legal for patients with epilepsy. In Wyoming, only CBD is allowed.
Most of the states that have legalized adult-use cannabis are in the West Coast: California, Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada.
Why cheaper in the West Coast?
Marijuana is cheaper in the West Coast because there are more cannabis growers in the region and the product cannot be shipped across state lines as that would be against federal law.
This means that all things being equal, the states with more growers have more supply, and have therefore lower prices.
Oregon ought to be mentioned in this regard because it is currently facing a supply issue. According to a report by Fortune magazine, cannabis is currently selling for as little as half-price in Oregon because of an excess in supply. The state is producing more cannabis than it can consume, and this excess supply can’t be transported across borders legally. As a result, the local cannabis prices fall.
Dramatic discrepancies in pricing
The prices of cannabis products also vary dramatically, even for two states or two cities that are both in the East Coast or both in the West Coast.
In San Francisco, California, for instance, weed costs almost 50% more compared to weed sold in Portland, Oregon. This price variation in the two western states is influences by local taxation, supply, and cost of doing business.