May 152010
 May 15, 2010

Outdoor Marijuana Prices Are At An All Time Low

I am a big fan of NPR (ok, feel free to make fun of me…), and I came across an article dealing with falling marijuana prices in California. The article echoed things that I have been saying since 2007. As more and more people flooded into Northern California, and as more people got into the medical marijuana scene, the quality of product on the streets has suffered. Also, due to the enormous flood of mediocre pot hitting the streets (it’s known as the infamous ‘turkey bag’ weed up here in Oregon), the laws of supply and demand take over, and the whole industry suffers as a result.

By no means am I saying that there is no good weed in Northern California. In fact, I have consumed some TOP QUALITY stuff from Northern Cali many times, recently. However, what I am saying is that there are LOTS of rookies in Northern California that have flooded in from out of state. These types of growers have only been producing crops for a couple years, and it shows in the quality/quantity that’s working its way up and down the I-5 corridor. There is WAY TOO MUCH outdoor Cali on the scene, and it’s changing the market dramatically. The previously mentioned article states that ‘prices are now much less than $2,000 a pound.’ That number is misleading for a few reasons, but it is still interesting (I will explain why in a minute).

First of all, if the article is referring to outdoor crops, then no sh#t it’s going to go for less than $2,000 a pound. Outdoor harvests have been ‘processed’ since October, and the longer it sits in the infamous turkey bags, the worse it’s going to smell, look, and taste. I have seen some outdoor turkey bags up here in Eugene, OR lately that barely resemble weed! Also, as with any marijuana purchase, it’s going to depend on the amount. Are we talking one pound, ten pounds, 100 pounds, etc? I know a guy that just bought 25 pounds for 20g of some turkey bag (good luck getting rid of that!).

I know another guy right now that is trying to push 3 pounds of outdoor Cali for $4,000. That’s significantly lower than the NPR analysis! But you have to take NPR with a grain of salt; they probably had some rookie reporter that went in wide-eyed and gullible. If you send an East Coast reporter to the Emerald Triangle, and they are looking at hundreds of pounds and plants for the first time in their life, they will probably believe anything they are told! The moral of the story is still valid though; prices are dropping as more people enter the marketplace, and only the best growers will continue to thrive.

The article highlights a growing problem; there is just too much weed on the West Coast, and the supply continues to grow (literally!). People that have been growing killer weed for decades are now being pushed out of the market by ‘out of staters’ that are flooding WA, OR, and CA. Don’t get me wrong, if you get a medical card and grow the FINEST indoor super chronic, you will NEVER have a problem getting rid of it, anywhere or anytime. I know a circle of friends that grow some ‘trainwreck’ that would demand top dollar in any market. But, for every circle of friends like those I just mentioned, there are 1,000 circles of friends that are pumping the market with mediocre, outdoor ‘turkey bag.’

I remember before ‘Operation Frozen Timber,’ there was no outdoor Cali up here in Oregon, at least not on a large scale. I would see ‘nugs from Humboldt’ every now and again when friends would go there to visit, but I never saw pounds of it here in Oregon. The weed here at the time was probably 10% locally grown, and 90% imported from BC (educated guess). A BC pound came in two gallon bags, which were both inside of one heat sealed bag, and always had funny numbers, symbols, and/or initials on the corner of the heat sealed bag.

Prices ranged from about $2,500 to $3,600 depending on the factors that I named above. Chances are, if you were paying less than that amount, you either had the ultimate hook up, or you were buying something so awful it never left your possession except on front (and even then it probably didn’t sell!). Not everyone could get into the industry, because you had to either know (or be) a quality/local grower, or have ‘a friend’ in Washington. From what I could tell, most of the Emerald Triangle weed stayed in Cali, and eventually made its way South down I-5.

That all changed when Operation Frozen Timber happened. I will never forget when my hook at the time was complaining to me about how hard it is to find ‘work.’ All he had was football sized ‘turkey bags’ of really crappy, outdoor weed. It lacked crystals, taste, color, etc. Of course, he could still get batches of local for top dollar, but as far as quantity was concerned, all he had was the ‘turkey bag.’ It was cheap as hell, around $2,000 bucks a pound, but even then, I didn’t want anything to do with it. Neither did anyone else that I knew up here in Oregon!

Now, combine the drought of BC buds on the West Coast with the passage of SB 420 in California just a few years earlier. The unquenchable appetite for marijuana on the West Coast was not going anywhere, while at the same time unbelievably sweet rules were in place in Northern Cali. The perfect storm for a ‘turkey bag’ market was created. Now we live in a world where 90% of the bulk product on the West Coast is outdoor, and about 10% is super quality indoor chronic. The people that make the 10% reign supreme, while the people in the 90% are left to live off a diet full of Top Ramen and PBJ sandwiches…

The problem is only going to grow, as more people move West for the ‘marijuana gold rush’ that you always hear investigative reporters talk about. People with the finest weed will sell it to dispensaries and the lucky few, while the non-medical masses get to sift through the ‘turkey bags.’ Long time dealers and growers will continue to be pushed out, as they have to compete with so many more rookies. There is one thing that I think could change all that; if BC buds came back onto the scene. I have talked to HUNDREDS of people in BC that are sitting on more indoor dank then they could ever know what to do with. The prices are comparable to the ‘turkey bag,’ but the quality is undeniable.

If somehow that was to flood back onto the scene, things would change dramatically. Dealers and dispensary owners would benefit from having access to more quality product at a reduced price. Long time growers would benefit, because they would still be able to sell their quality product and the crappy growers would get weeded out because their crappy weed wouldn’t sell. People would quit moving West for the ‘pursuit of medical marijuana’ because it wouldn’t be as easy to compete. But then again, who knows…maybe marijuana just becomes legal, and it can be traded like any other valuable commodity! If that were ever to occur, who knows what would happen (other than massive celebrations)!

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • http://kymk.wordpress.com/ Kym

    Living here in Humboldt writing about weed, I’d say the NPR story is close to correct as far as I can tell. Prices for outdoor circle around $2000. OG Kush can go for up to $2400. Strains with less aroma and panache can go down to $1800. Of course, anyone moving quantity will get less.

    I agree that inexperienced growers can and do produce poor quality. And it is easier for rookie growers to get set up outside (or with very small indoor grows) than it is for them to get the money together for the more expensive indoor operations. So the proportion of rookies outdoors can be higher. But, all most all the indoor growers I know either buy or grow outdoor for their own smoke–they prefer the taste and the wake and bake aspect–they can still function on the stuff as opposed to having couch lock.

    Down here, indoor prices are dropping faster. Dispensaries are tending to just grow their own and not buy from independents. Indoor from LA tastes like indoor from Humboldt. Why worry about the transport…

    Outdoor, though, continues to do moderately well in face of the flooded market. Last year prices were similar to this year. Many growers here are hoping that finally the superior flavor and mellow of outdoor will convince consumers to do the right thing environmentally and stop wasting energy on growing a plant indoors that grows better outdoors.

    • http://www.theweedblog.com Johnny Green

      I have heard from many Northern Californians that they prefer outdoor to indoor. People up here in Oregon would LOVE some quality outdoor, but it just seems too hard to find by the time you get up here. Many of my friends have contemplated just driving down there in October and hanging out at bars to meet some Californians looking to meet Oregonians…but we never know what to expect when we get there

  • http://marioptics.webs.com/index.html joe knuc

    Folks growing weed should at least have some basic science about marijuana. Read
    marijuana optics at my posted URL for the reason why indoor is less potent than outdoor and why the 12-hour flowering photoperiod that the indoor crowd uses is the wrong one. It should be eleven hours to trigger parthenocarpia which will promote the growth of the capitate-staked glandular trichome–the trichome that makes the most THC.

    • johhny1

      thanks for the links , you my friend are a true “trichomitrist” i cant understand half the shit on the pages but i did get the point , and it does explain alot of inconsistency’s

      I see massive calyx or what i had believed to be calyx on the sativa strong strains under the actual flower at the bract
      kind of look like like a tear with a few pistils sticking out
      the Indicas seem to have the inside the bud , strange 2 totally different strains

      well i did my first outdoor hydro harvest, decent yeild but thaat stuff taste like the tabacco i grew last yr and threw away cause it tasted like shit.

      I never liked any of the indoor buds thes dispensary in la have
      hot flower i call them

      humbolt , oregon , canada , have the best outdoor , always have.

      I believe true connoisseurs will always seek those outdoor buds and they dont mind paying a little extra , just like napa wine (probably more hype) crafted a niche in the market

      Outdoor buds grown in Los Angeles – think about it , smog , soot , bugs
      and spraying anything on a plant a few weeks before harvest is dangerous

      so we are smoking or ingesting pollutants that stick to those sticky ickys!~

      I would prefer a bud grown in the forest over a bud grown anywhere in LA indoors or out

      thanks for the links and the Info knuck!

  • http://www.bongstore.net Adam Roy

    I have to agree that the distribution of medical marijuana is certainly affecting the sales of outdoors.

    But the truth is, I’m sure that the prices are so close, that it’s just not worth it to get the outdoors.

    I’ve been looking forward to getting my card and accessing the dispensaries.

  • joe blow

    Why don’t they process all this outdoor weed into quality hashish? There’s
    a big market for that.

    • johhny1

      Ok further elaboration. I agree with the author .

      first off these “medical” people have destroyed the market .Now that 80 % of the dispensary’s in LA have been zoned out , the few remaining reap the profits

      75.00 / 1/8 thats 1200/ oz

      when the green rush hit here a few years back these “shops” were looking for a deal
      out of desperation we sold our buds to them , 100 an oz
      they turned it out at 45/8
      I met a guy from Oregon with a lot of outdoor in a parking lot of a dispensary . the stuff was better than anything in that shop
      he couldnt get rid of it. I felt bad for him but the days of buying pounds and making money are almost gone.
      you could buy a few lbs and wind up smoking it all up , all these people felt like they have to go to dispensarys.
      yes it is a rush to see all those jars and dream of a day when it is totally legal , totally unfettered

      but after a few visits the rush wears off and people begin calling the local bud guy .

      only to find out he is on food stamps or welfare

      I kind of miss the days of sneaking around whispering “pot conference”
      I feel the MMJ crowd has hijacked the sacred bud!

      and the politics,, the MMJ dosnt want recreational legalization , what a smack in the face

      My friend asked me whats the difference between Medical weed and weed ? i told him ” about $2000.00″
      he still didnt grasp it. he dosnt smoke so i wouldnt expect him to.

      I have a buddy that used to drive up every 2 months , large loads .
      he quit because the trips were getting too risky and the time between was getting longer.
      and local markets were flooded.

      so what Im trying to get at is we cant have our cake and eat it.
      if we like staying out of jail unfortunately we have to sacrifice
      you can grow a thousand pounds of shit before you get the golden egg.
      yes everyone gets lucky the first time around but it usually goes down hill
      broken PH pen
      mold
      thieves
      chlorine
      caterpillars , spidermites
      etc
      Its not rocket science but it does take alot of time to develop a “green thumb”
      and the market the way it is its almost not worth the effort for most people

      you have to put a lot of time in your work and if you do the math realistically a grow might not pan out financially, yet people are lured into this thinking they are gonna get rich

      well kudos to them the american way

      send those BC buds to me in LA ill get rid of em!

      haha

  • http://satanssmoke.us hoamrogh

    I like how you said all of us suffer from supply and demand. Ha ha. As the competition comes in to dissipate what they believe to be excessive profits the supply and demand actually balance each other out. And the market place then gives goodwill to the growers that bring quality.

    It will be legal. The federal government has an unconstitutional ban to deal with.

    you haven’t heard of this: http://satanssmoke.us

  • http://B0NG.com Buy Bongs

    In door is so much better. The clubs have some really nice strands.

  • igrow

    outdoor will be held until march april may just like last year when Outdoor flood dried up clubs were begging for outdoor weight.

  • igrow

    my outdoor will be held until march april may just like last year when Outdoor flood dried up LA clubs were begging for outdoor weight. …sharp growers know whats up supply
    and demand… waitin for that drought.

  • dillarD

    yeah rite igrow that nugs will be nasty after that much time, no one likes hay

  • igrow

    lol at “hay” if LA clubs are buying it and asking for more how can it be hay? I can tell you dont grow i have some grape romulan almost a year old with a nice cure that will blow your socks off. Your silly if you think im the only one holding until flood is over or that bud turns into “hay” in 5 months lmao.

  • dillar is rite

    say whatever you want igrow, nugs that cure for a month or two are good, but then after that, as with any plant or fruit, they begin to decay and smell old. if people buy it than so be it, but dont act like it is the preferred mj. people only smoke your old weed because they have to, not because they want to

  • Neo

    How does the club able to identify whether the product is indoor or outdoor, without being told?

  • kontrast

    East coast is hella flooded with BS outdoor

    Wholesale cats used to buy in the 3’s but over the past year selling in the 3’s has been going down hill and now non existant. If you work with real heads and not dumbasses then you also have experienced this issue. Everybody in CA thinks the eastcoast is like the land of gold or something but in all realness its just as bad !!! i sugest retiring while your still safe and just grow personal

  • Yellow

    Okay first of all, some of the best herb I have ever smoked is Humboldt outdoors. Second of all, some of the worst weed I have ever smoked is BC bud. Importing weed is idiotic when we have the best of the best right here in the US. I would like to check your statistics because I just can’t believe some of what you have to say without proper proof.

  • Seder84

    Tighter border control added to ur perfect storm. I love Cali outdoor.

  • cheesedick

    Not really sure what this guys talking about. I was born and raised in Washington and bc bud coming into Washington was commercial shit. It was green but smelled like hay, tasted sub par and didn’t get you that high. The best bc bud stays in bc. The best weed in Washington cam from growers in Washington. And to address this turkey bag thing. I have been in ca for five years now and see high quality outdoor from the emerald triangle all the time. I just saw some on weedmaps at the dispensery in Truckee that was 18% thc and looked really nice. Tons of crystals and smelled like lemon and piss. Completely stunk up my kitchen cabinets where I kept it.