One annoying thing about enjoying a product only found on the black market is that it's hard to comparison shop: How much am I supposed to pay for a Tec-9 or eight ball of coke? We have some intuitive sense, or we get info from TV or newspaper reports quoting “street value,” or from friends who buy weed, but essentially we're in the dark. And not to get all wonky, but price is an important “signal,” as economists call it, because it helps producers decide if the free market needs more or less product.
Now there's a site that hopes to alleviate this lack of information. Price of Weed (“A Global Index of Marijuana) is aggregating data on the price of weed everywhere in the country (and Canada) so that consumers and producers alike know what the going rate is. Isn't the Internet fantastic?
Here's how it works: Site visitors anonymously input the following about their most recent pot transactions: amount bought; price; and quality, choosing from low, medium or high. (It's either anonymous, or an ingeniously devious DEA sting operation.)
In California, averages are $351 per ounce of high quality weed, among 553 people who have submitted; $281 for medium quality among 196 submissions; and, $193 for low quality, though with just 14 people submitting, that's not a big enough sample size. (C'mon, shwag buyers, we need more submissions to figure out what bad weed should cost.)
To some extent, this data probably isn't surprising to California weed consumers because our many pot shops create more transparency in our weed market. But most states don't have public pot shops.
New Yorkers are paying $447 for high quality, $337 for medium and $183 for low quality.
So, Californians are getting a bargain compared to New York. Our pot shops remove some of legal risk of buying, which almost certainly drives down the price. Experts predict a further collapse in price if Proposition 19, the pot legalization initiative, passes in November.
The site also grades states from one to five in categories it calls, “Law Enforcement” and “Social Acceptance,” with a score of “1” being the most liberal. Priceofweed gives California a “3” on both “Law Enforcement” and “Social Acceptance.”
This seems a little ridiculous, as California is known as one of the weed-friendliest states in the union.