News Feb 20, 2013 at 4:00 am

The Medical Marijuana Industry Is Making Some Dubious Claims


it wont be any cheaper though!
If it's worse and more expensive, I imagine that smokers will just acquire it from their regular dealers.

That's the thing about legal weed that the state needs to understand. If they over charge for crap they will not have many customers.

Why buy a crappy 8th at 50 bucks a pop when you can just call up your bro for a primo 8th at 40 bucks. And half they time your bro delivers.
As a medical pot patient, this is great to hear. 99% of our medical marijuana in Seattle is just as shitty as the shit you get from a dealer.
#1, it'll be more expensive. The current price at dispensaries is about $10 a gram. In Oregon, it's falling toward $5 a gram. Cost to the street dealer is $1-$2 a gram. Cost to grow, if actually legalized (like, say, beer?) is 10 cents a gram.

The coming Washington State cartel aims to jack it up by 50%. The I-502 documents say $15 a gram. The only way they can even hope to make that stick is to wipe out the dispensaries. But that will still put Washington State in direct competition with Oregon's medical marijuana, and with the street dealers.

I expect the state to crush the dispensaries. That's why they were opposed to I-502. But they won't crush the street dealers, or Oregon medical marijuana. There will also be substantial leakage from Washington State's community gardens, which currently send their pot to the dispensaries but will stop doing so.

Washington State will try to use the police, the courts, the jails, and the prisons to crush competition from the community gardens, mafia style. They might actually succeed, but they won't be able to crush the street dealers, and likely not the Oregon medical marijuana production.

Bottom line is that the Washington State cartel will open up legal pot sales to great fanfare but not a lot of customers. They'll try every trick in the book to eliminate their competition, but it won't work.

But they will have legalized pot for openly recreational use, and that will (pardon the pun) plant the seed for the fairly swift collapse of the cartels, be they the ones that feed the street dealers or the one that Washington State aims to establish.

It'll be messy, and there'll be plenty of arrests, imprisonment, and ruined lives, but in the end marijuana will be legal like beer. When it is, pot will be everywhere and dirt cheap because unlike beer or booze or cigarettes, it's a raw agricultural commodity that's easy for any moderately competent gardener to grow.

Which brings me to my final point. There will be posts in this thread about how hard it is to grow great herb. Those posts will be bullshit. The quality of marijuana is mainly dependent on the genetics of the seeds. Given enough sun, water, fertilizer, and a little bit (and only a little bit, and often none at all) TLC, good seed will produce good pot.

Will there be better pot available from the "professionals?" Sure. But if you can grow 10-15% THC marijuana in the backyard for basically nothing, how many people will pay $15 a gram for, say, 25% THC pot if it even exists? That's just one more hit, and it'll be a free hit if you grow it yourself.

Like I say, it'll take a while, but Washington State's marijuana cartel is doomed before it ever starts.
Once possession is decriminalized, anyone who wants to have a bush on their balcony can do so. Maybe not the best bud ever, but definitely a moderating factor on any unreasonable market trends. Dispensaries? Taxes? Huh? Sure just like specialty wine, tea and spice-shops; but no-way limited to them. Decent weed is just too easy to grow.
#5, it's not true. I-502 did not legalize growing one's own. Nor did it legalize the sale of seeds or starter plants. The minute those things happen, it won't take long for people to realize they'd be nuts to pay $15 a gram to a state cartel (or even $10 to a dispensary or $5 to $10 to a street dealer) for something they can grow themselves for a dime.

This is Washington State. Every single thing the state government does is motivated by the desire to charge a hefty fee.
@6 Actually, I-502 *did* legalize seeds and starts. If the seeds or starter plants contain under .3% THC, they are not "marijuana" under Washington State law.
I think mmj and street dealers will continue, and only those who were previously not smoking because it was illegal will be the only new customers, and they may be willing to support the state system. Most people who already use wont be willing to pay more for something they already get on the cheap.
It will be lower quality from state grows because there will be only about 100 authorized growers. And those growers will be required to grow in bulk thus NOT giving proper attention to quality instead they will be focused on meeting quota. Home grows and medical WILL be better quality for that simple reason alone.
The state is planning on only allowing about 100 licensed growers for the entire state. These growers will have to meet a certain quota. These growers will be so focused on meeting that quota and growing in bulk that the product will significantly diminish in quality. Bulk weed will equal bunk weed!

And it will be too expensive from the state. Over regulation and taxes will do nothing to eliminate the black market, in fact it will increase the black market.

This is a mess just waiting to happen. And yet, we have yet to know what the feds are gonna do - and my guess is that they aren't gonna allow this to go forth.
#8, that's not legalization, any more than legal "near beer" (up to 0.5% alcohol) during Prohibition was legalization of alcohol.
#7, Oregon medical marijuana prices are under $150 an ounce, and falling. The I-502 materials were based on marijuana at $15 a gram, which is $420 (ha ha!) an ounce. Like I say, this will get a lot of publicity when it starts, but not many customers.
@4 and 13, "Unbrainwashed" (really starting to doubt the "un" part now), again: the $15 price you're touting was an assumption used in the LCB fiscal note BASED ON CURRENT DISPENSARY (read, "black" or "gray" market, whatever) PRICES. Those prices aren't going to stick in a legal market where competition is more robust than what the dispensaries face now. Marijuana simply isn't that expensive to grow:….
Ben nailed it on the head. Thanks Ben for pointing out why 502 is a very good thing.
I have a friend who is a shitty grower. No one (on the black market) wanted his inferior weed that was not organic and must have had a low THC value.

So who bought it all? Dispensaries! Lower your price a bit and they snatch it up. His weed then went on sale the next day at two different dispensaries the next day, one touting it as "organic".

There are lots of unscrupulous dispensaries out there as it is a mostly unregulated industry so be careful what you are smoking. Apologies to the trustworthy and properly run dispensaries that are out there.
#4 nails it. #10 and #11 also make key points. Here's a question, though: what percentage of the "medical" market overlaps with the black market, and relatively how big is the latter compared to the former? Lots of people are still averse to getting an authorization.

Ben, I'm thinking #11's point "The state is planning on only allowing about 100 licensed growers for the entire state. These growers will have to meet a certain quota. These growers will be so focused on meeting that quota and growing in bulk that the product will significantly diminish in quality. Bulk weed will equal bunk weed!" makes the answer to your question not quite as cut and dried. "higher quality standards" don't take into account the superiority of boutique production, versus industrial product.
Licenses are not limited to 100, despite what the unread contend.

The fearmongering about the state licensing only 100 growers is based on OFM's fiscal analysis of I-502. For retail license estimates, they used the exact number of licensed liquor stores. For the other two tiers, they admitted to having no basis, and chose the round number 100.
Re: Informed - You are uninformed. How much are you willing to bet that there will be no more than 100 licenses?
I have a card. I have someone who grows for me. He's very informed, though multiple sources (gov't officials, attorneys, lobbyists) on the developments in both medical and recreational cannabis. What he's reported to me on the subject of whether recreational will be better or worse than medicinal is that there's currently a push to limit recreational THC content to 6% (as opposed to the current average I usually see at dispensaries of 14-15%, sometimes significantly higher). Now I know that much of this is still up in the air and possibly subject to a great deal of change in the future, but I don't think that bodes well for recreational users who will go through the state's proposed system.
#20, that doesn't surprise me. Even the Dutch have imposed a 15% cap, at least officially. But I doubt the state cartel will be able to make it stick. You need to remember that Washington State will be, after all the hoorays have died down, just one more competitor.

True, they'll be a cartel with the state on its side, but I'm not sure that matters very much, given that the illegal pipeline predated the dispensaries and still goes strong.

It'll be interesting to see if Washington State can turn itself into the Medellin Cartel. I tend to doubt it.
MMJ dispensaries shtick, "providing medicine
to the sick" isn't going to fly anymore.
Now, it is a revenue issue and Wa State is
the 400 lbs. guy at the buffet table and he is
HUNGRY. MMJ dispensaries are just in the way.

I am somewhat neutral on how Wa State deals
with the other cartels, but if history shows examples of folks getting the way of
the State, such as Native Americans, Iraq,
Japanese, Afghanistan, etc, I would not
count out them out too soon.

I think the dispensaries are history, but I really doubt the state cartel will fly. We'll see.
Wow! I had no idea the dispensaries may be eliminated. After 4 year as an MMJ patient I have finally found the perfect quality (after visiting 50+) So now I'm fuming. If this happens the people who backed this bill and the enforcers will see a new capone and a lot of push back. Lets just say I have alot IRA history in my family and I do not like being pushed around. You listening Allison Holcomb? You guys are playing a dangerous game when it affects peoples health and well being. Here comes the war!
#24, believe me, no one ever even started to care about you and whatever it is that made you need marijuana as a medicine. That includes everyone involved. Not the dispansaries, not the Strangeer, not the legislature, not NORML, not the I-502 backers. None of them give a flying fuck about you and your issues. They never did and never will.

Only if you let R.J. Reynolds corner the cannabis market like they almost did to cancerbacco . . . . ----
Seems to me the anti-pot legislatewhores in Olympia are attempting to keep the feds from going to court(the ultimate purpose of I-502,in case you didn't get the damn memo!)because they are beholden to the foes of cannabis. -----
Very interesting comments here. However one point that I have not seen made --and which is a major blind spot in the article -- is that MMJ 'quality' is not merely THC % and freedom from mold, it is also related to Indica vs. Sativa, and the quantity of CBDs -- the compounds that help with pain and symptom relief.

While there are unscrupulous dispensaries running as pot-selling operations, there are definitely dispensaries that are focused on enhancing the healing qualities of herb. Different strains affect different people differently, and knowing the genetics, strain-ratios, and quantity of CBDs as well as THC is imperative to finding the variety that works for each patient. Also a factor: eating vs smoking, and the "medibles" range of MMJ food products has increased far, far beyond hose too-strong pot brownies you had in college. Some people want the pain relief but *don't* want to get stoned - dispensaries can help with that.

Prior to any sort of decrim/medical/legal situation, pot growers focused on growing only Indica --the strain that makes you feel more "stoned"-- because the buds are bigger & heavier, and they made better profits per plant. However Sativa --which makes you feel more "high"-- is often a better experience for many people. But harder to find in a black market.

The good dispensaries are enabling good growers to broaden their varieties, and start breeding for higher CBD content, which again, are the compounds involved in providing pain relief, one of the key reasons MMJ patients obtain herb in the first place.

The state legalization regulations appear to completely ignore all of those developments. Legalization has the very real potential to halt the market pressures that are encouraging helpful medical strain research, and put the focus back on "profit per pound" and THC quantity.

This is the secret scandal of legalization. I'm rather surprised I'm not seeing more written about this potential impact.
Winterlife sucks! There way to slow and backed up. Try they got some dank! And there fast.
Complete bullshit

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