Mar 202016
 March 20, 2016
marijuana cash industry banking

(image via Associated Press)

There are many states in America that have legalized medical marijuana in some form. On one of the spectrum you have states like Oregon where home cultivation is allowed (albeit with lower limits than in the past) and there are dispensaries and a lot of qualifying conditions. On the other end of the spectrum you have states that have legalized CBD-only medical marijuana, with no place to purchase it or grow it. And of course there are many states that fall somewhere in between.

New Jersey is not all the way on the CBD-only end of the spectrum, but it’s definitely a state that has a very limited medical marijuana program. There are not a lot of patients because the list of qualifying conditions is small compared to many other states, and there’s even less outlets for medical marijuana. Patients are not allowed to grow their own medical marijuana, so literally the only legal way to obtain medical marijuana is from one of the handful of licensed outlets. Supply shortages are common I’m told from readers, and prices are through the roof. The prices are so high in New Jersey that it sounds like New Jersey’s own officials have stated that the prices are the highest in the nation. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

New Jersey’s five operating medical cannabis dispensaries may have the highest MMJ prices of any market in the country, according to the state’s own officials.

The state department of health released a report on March 11 that found the average ounce of cannabis in New Jersey is priced at $489, which is roughly 37% higher than other states with comparable markets such as Arizona, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont, Philly.com reported.

Of those other states, New Mexico had the lowest average price, of $284 an ounce, the report found.

There are obviously a lot of states that aren’t included on the comparison list, such as Oregon, California, Washington, etc. But this report from New Jersey looked at ‘comparable markets’ so there’s some subjectivity as far as which states make the list and which don’t for comparison purposes. States with older, and in my opinion better, medical marijuana programs have much lower prices. I once saw a billboard in Oregon listing $79 ounces for example. But regardless of how New Jersey officials look at it, $489 is $489, and that’s WAY too much for a suffering patient to pay for an ounce of medical marijuana. Not when there’s a better way. New Jersey needs to fix its medical marijuana program so that suffering patients can get the compassionate, affordable safe access that they deserve.

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.
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  • Silverado

    Well, it certainly isn’t in Washington state. Especially these days. Just today I went to a local (MMJ) Farmer’s Market near Tacoma and there were plenty of $100 premium ounces of multiple varieties from multiple vendors. Medibles by the table load and priced to move. From single dose chocolate drops @ $3 to multi dose brownies with 500 Mg of THC for $10 to tea bags full of a concoction of herbs, spices and you-guessed-it for I can’t remember. Enough concentrates priced from $15 a gram on up to keep even Snoop Dog happy and high. Clones, RSO, you name it and it was there…in quantity and for the most part it was priced right. I’d say there was a huge crowd of patients today for what I saw, it was busy! I asked one vendor I’ve done repeated business with about the low prices when he quipped, “I might have the price on the jar marked at $150 an ounce (he had multiple BIG jars of GORGEOUS buds) but when it comes right down to it, when it comes to the choice of going home with a $100 bill in my pocket OR a bag of excellent weed that I think is perhaps worth $150, I’ll take that $100 bill every time”. Then he laughed…nervously. And that’s what you’re seeing in the local cannabis market around the Seattle – Tacoma metro area. Supply is building up past demand in all markets even the recreational market and as long as the prices stay where they are, at least for medical card carrying patients, I’m seeing less and less friends that are even starting and growing their own any longer, it’s gotten so inexpensive and readily available is an understatement. So low prices keep the black market quiet and are for all but the most diehard clandestine growers that just like to grow their own…in quantity. With premium high quality cannabis that would be centerfold material in High Times magazine available for $100 an ounce, the card carrying patient has choices like the rest of the country and most of the world for the most part would hardly believe. I saw (and sampled a touch) so much legal (MMJ) weed today I can’t hardly believe it. So if you ever get a chance to attend a cannabis Farmer’s Market in a place where it’s legal like it is here make sure you don’t miss it. Especially if you’ve never had the experience. Wow…capitalism in action and like most haven’t ever seen…yet.

    • Lawrence Goodwin

      That’s it! Your report just ended my indecision, Silverado. It’s time for me to pack up my Silverado, say my goodbyes, and leave New York behind like a bad habit. I can’t bear my home state’s anti-“marihuana” tyranny for one day longer.

    • saynotohypocrisy

      From what has been said here about the economics of indoor and outdoor growing, I’m thinking all of this reasonably priced quality weed must have been grown outdoors?

      • Silverado

        While you could be forgiven for thinking that that’s not the case at all. Most of what I saw 95% was definitely produced indoors under lights. I should have said something about that too as the light farmer’s around here really are in a financial pinch as their overhead runs about $50 per month per 1k light at .10 cents a Kw hour. I have a friend who owns a mid-sized legal recreational production & processing company and facility (It’s no secret and it’s legal so here’s their website http://www.origincc.com/ ) in Bellevue just east of Seattle (with some of the highest real estate prices in the state) who at the suggestion of their local power company Puget Sound Energy is going to more LED’s so IMHO his quality suffers a bit (compared to running straight HID lighting) but like I was joking with him the other day, at least the power company is happy. But they sell everything they produce and could do more though they’re at about the peak of what they can grow in that spot. So like oil that doesn’t work at $40 a barrel, growing pot indoors under HID lighting around here in “hydro-electric land” pencils out profitable at somewhere (I’m guessing) near $150 an ounce though at $200 per ounce the light farmer’s would be “making good money”. However at $100 an ounce the only way the light farmers make it is by going BIG. And that’s what you’re probably seeing some of there. I found an Asian grower/seller who had a whole bunch of a tasty strain he called Lemon Sherbet both flower and oil in cartridges as well as 1 Mg syringes that tested out at about 59% THC. When I commented on his quantity he said they simply grew too much of that strain and were therefore blowing it out. The syringes were $15, the carts were $15 and the flower was again beautiful and $100 an ounce all you want. Every vendor in this place is a small “mom & pop” type producer and it’s for sure a racially and age diverse crowd of both buyer – patients and vendors who both grow and sell. The place is about the size of a smallish grange hall and when you walk in besides smelling the smells and boy does that…reek in a good way!!!! But it’s got every space and every table occupied and it looks like everyone is having a great time as well. There’s a slight haze from the dab bar and sampling room in the back but I find myself in awe with a smile every time I attend and I’ve been there quite a few times as it’s only 15 minutes up the street. But the quality is up and the prices are down at the farmer’s market. And that whole thing is a good thing judging by the number of happy and smiling patients every Sunday from 11:00 am till 5:00 in the afternoon near Tacoma Washington.

  • Traci Ford

    We here in NJ would LOVE to not only fix but EXPAND our medical marijuana program. Unfortunately, this will have to wait until November 2017 when Chris-py “Creme” Christie is a long overdue and painful memory. I’ve been trying to wait until then, but I’m going to CO in April to do some “on-the-ground” research to see if I can live there. My illnesses can’t wait for a sane, rational and compassionate governor to get elected, any longer.

    • Silverado

      A “sane, rational and compassionate governor to get elected”…in New Jersey?? I was going to say just wait till he runs off to serve in a Trump administration. But knowing “Joisey” you could have a long wait.
      Anyway, good luck in Colorado. (Washington & Oregon are nice too.) And get well…

  • ryan mc

    i live in nj, have ms and have a mmj card. i use too live in southern ore/ norcal.still keep my cards active in all stated. your right the older mmp’s are much more pt friendly. nj’s program is a mess. not only is the prices rediculous but the quality of the medicine is sub par. every strain smells, looks and smokes the same. they wouldn’t even tell me if the bud was grown in soil or hydro. from who ive spoke with it seems most bud in nj is grow in aeroponic systems. i grew for years indoor and out in gp ore. the medicine i grew was always dialed in, organic and good genetics. plus when i grew, and i was just one guy not a big buisness or state, nothing would add up too me ever justify charging nj prices.

  • CT Marijuana Prices

    The prices for our medication in CT is out of control!! The Growers and Dispensaries are monopolizing this program charging 400-500$ and ounce to patients “sick people” there GREEDY!! fight the cause.. https://www.facebook.com/ctmmps Help Keep Medication Affordable