Your guide to making good purchases when you visit your marijuana dispensary.
When you walk into a dispensary, do you ask for $20, $40, or $100 dollars worth of marijuana? Do you know if you are getting your money’s worth?
Most marijuana dispensaries use a standardized measuring system to weigh out the marijuana you purchase. Today you’ll learn the increments in which marijuana is sold, prices you should expect to pay, and factors that can affect your final purchase price.
Marijuana Flower Amounts
Marijuana purchasing amounts have been largely standardized in dispensaries. When purchasing marijuana flower from a dispensary, it will typically be sold in fractions of an ounce.
- 1G = 1 gram
- ⅛ ounce = 3.5 grams
- ¼ ounce = 7 grams
- ½ ounce = 14 grams
- 1 ounce = 28 grams
In some instances, a dispensary may round an “eighth” up to 4 grams or promote a 5 gram eighth on certain days.
How Much Should I Buy?
In most legal states, you can purchase and carry up to one ounce of marijuana flower at a time.
Many new users are curious how much marijuana flower they will need each day. This will depend entirely on how much and how often you will want to smoke. Do you just need it a once or twice a day? Or will you be smoking often throughout the day? The answer to this question often comes as you build experience with the plant.
Depending on the experience of a user, a gram can last anywhere from a single session to a day or more.
*Remember, you can’t bring marijuana over state lines, so if you are travelling, only buy what you know you will need.
Currently (January 2018), you will find cannabis for sale at the following prices. Most often, the more you buy, the less you will pay per gram in total.
- One Gram: $10-$20
- Eighth: $30-$60
- Quarter: $50-$120
- Half Ounce: $120-$225
- Ounce: $170-$375
What Affects Pricing:
When shopping for marijuana flower, there are a number of factors that may affect pricing to keep in mind.
Potency: One of the main influences on the price you pay for marijuana is how potent it is. As a general rule, the higher a percentage of cannabinoids like THC and CBD are in a sample of marijuana flower, the more expensive it will be. Potency can be linked to a strain’s genetics, and some strains are naturally more potent than others. It can also be linked to how well a strain is grown. Many dispensaries can provide you with independent lab testing results showing potency for individual strains they are selling.
Freshness: Another factor affecting the price you pay for marijuana flower will be its freshness. Older, drier marijuana will lose some of its fragrance, flavor, and even potency as terpenes and cannabinoids begin to break down from exposure to the environment around it. THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, degrades to CBN through decarboxylation, making it less potent. You can often determine freshness by smelling and visually inspecting marijuana flower. Fresh, carefully stored marijuana should be fragrant and smell fresh.
Quality of buds: Finally, the overall quality of the marijuana buds themselves can affect how much you pay. If a strain is mostly larger, thumb-sized buds, it can command a higher price. Popcorn buds or smaller will often see a reduction in price. How well a strain is trimmed can also affect price since excessively leafy buds can negatively affect the smoke.
Often, dispensaries will take categorize their offerings by “shelf”, taking the above factors into consideration. Top shelf signifies a premium product which will command a higher price, while bottom shelf denotes a lower quality product which will be offered at a discount price.
State and local marijuana taxes will also affect the final price of marijuana flower in a legal dispensary.
Recreational marijuana states have added specialized marijuana taxes to all purchases.
- California: 15% sales tax, $2.75–$9.25 cultivation tax per ounce.
- Oregon: 17% sales tax
- Washington: 37% sales tax
- Nevada: 15% sales tax
- Colorado: 15% excise tax, 10% sales tax
- Alaska: $50/ounce
- Maine: 10% sales tax
- Massachusetts: 3.75% sales tax
These taxes may exist along with standard retail sales tax, excise taxes, and any local taxes that are added, which can significantly drive up final costs to users. According to the Tax Foundation, consumers in Colorado may face up to 5 taxes:
- 15 percent excise tax
- 10 percent state tax on retail marijuana sales (falling to 8 percent as of July 1, 2018)
- 2.9 percent state sales tax
- local sales taxes (the average rate in Colorado is 4.6 percent)
- local excise taxes on marijuana, such as the 3.5 percent tax in Denver
Some states also levy a tax on medical marijuana. California has added a 15% sales tax on all cannabis sales, including medical marijuana. Similarly, the following states have added taxes to medical marijuana.
- Arizona: 6.6% medical marijuana sales tax
- Colorado: 2.9% generic sales tax
- Hawaii: 4.5% generic excise tax on Oahu; 4% generic excise tax everywhere else
- Illinois: 1% sales tax under the state’s pharmaceutical rate; 7% privilege tax paid by sellers and growers
- Maine: 5.5% medical marijuana sales tax
- Nevada: 2% medical marijuana excise tax
- New Jersey: 7% generic sales tax
- New York: 7% medical marijuana excise tax
- Pennsylvania: 5% medical marijuana excise tax
- Rhode Island: 7% generic sales tax; 4% medical marijuana surcharge paid by the seller
- Washington, D.C.: 5.75% generic sales tax
You can learn more about individual state cannabis laws HERE.
Getting Started with Medical Marijuana
You can find all the information you need about marijuana, including how to get a medical marijuana card, how to grow your own cannabis at home, and which strains are the most popular on our Cannabis 101 page.