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The Highest Marijuana Prices in New England by State

Friday, November 15, 2013

 

As states across the country continue to address the issue of legalizing marijuana, real time data compiled by a crowdsourced website shows how much people are paying for it on the black market, broken down by states, cities, and towns.

See How Much New Englanders Are Paying for Marijuana Below

Looking at the most recent data reported on "The Price of Weed", Massachusetts residents were reporting paying in the upper tier in New England for "medium-quality" marijuana, at $297 an ounce -- with Vermont reporting the highest prices for "high quality" marijuana, at over $326 an ounce.

"These crowd-sourced websites for unregulated prices might not be prevalent or necessary in New England -- right now," said Allen St. Pierre, the Executive Director of NORML -- and Massachusetts native.  

NORML's mission is to "move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults."

"Take however the scenario in Los Angeles, where there are over 800 medical marijuana dispensaries downtown alone," St. Pierre continued.  "There are consumer-oriented webpages that enjoy a lot of traffic, because people in real time can use technology to determine real time prices."

With Massachusetts in the midst of approving medical marijuana dispensaries, and Worcester County having narrowed down the list of applicants to 13, St. Pierre spoke with GoLocal about the situation unfolding in the Bay State -- and what it might mean for marijuana prices.

Price, Competition, Legalization?

"We won't know how the situation in Massachusetts will unfold until it's finalized. We what know is that Massachusetts is logically moving forward. They're drawing from the example of the other 20 states," said St. Pierre, regarding the other states that have approved medical marijuana.

A recent poll conducted by the Western New England University Polling Institute found that 74% respondents in Massachusetts were in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. The poll showed that prior to approval of the measure in 2012, the support level was at 63%.

Nationally, a Gallup poll showed that 58% of Americans were in favor of full-scale legalization; however, the Western New England University poll found that only 41% of Massachusetts respondents would approval legalization -- and 51% would be against it.

"The main opposition in Washington State [to full legalization] wasn't law enforcement, religious groups, business organizations...it came from the medical cannabis industry," said St. Pierre. "They fear competition."

St. Pierre talked to the situation unfolding in Colorado. "The price is dropping like a rock there, " he said. "The last time I went, the average price was $135 an ounce. Now that there's regulations -- and taxation -- the distributors are seeing their profit margin getting cut."

Last week, voters in Colorado approved a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales, and a ten percent sales tax on legalized marijuana, which was approved in the state in 2012.

"Lawmakers might take revenue into consideration," said St. Pierre regarding some states elected officials at legalization. "It's really a product of this economy that's driving that discussion, the fact that we find ourselves in crushing economic times."

Returning to the issue of prices, St. Pierre said, "In the end, I don't think there will be medical marijuana market operating parallel to a legal, regulated marijuana market."

Opposition to Legalization

Kevin Sabet with Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) addressed the issues of tax revenue as part of the legalization conversation.

SAM, which "believes in an approach that neither legalizes, nor demonizes, marijuana," is currently chaired by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

"States may see [revenue] at first -- just like they saw alcohol, tobacco, and the Lottery that way -- but they are in for a rude awakening," said Sabet. "We know, for example, that every $1 gained alcohol and tobacco tax revenue costs society $10 -- in the form of low productivity, accidents, and health care costs. Why should we expect marijuana--which combines the intoxicating properties of alcohol with the lung damage associated with smoking -- to be any different?"

Sabet continued, "Society will have to pay for increased regulations (including increased law enforcement and spending on new government bureaucracies to manage legalization) along with costs associated with increased car accidents, school dropouts, workforce problems, etc. Even though a minority of all of the marijuana users will have problems (just like a minority of overall drinkers have major alcohol problems), that small number of users will incur a huge cost to society."

Sabet compared the legalization of marijuana to the tobacco industry.

"I think the pro-side will continue to make the scientifically dubious argument that legalization keeps drugs away from kids (since drug dealers don't ask for ID) even though we know that as a substance is more widely available, normalized and commercialized, it becomes used and abused. Alcohol is a case in point: kids have easy access to beer even though its use is supposed to be illegal until age 21. I think the anti-side will rightfully express doubts that the commercial, legal market won't exploit kids and target vulnerable populations," said Sabet.

"There is middle ground, though, found in the idea that we don't have to jail low-level marijuana users or saddle them with criminal records while at the same time not legalizing and commercializing a new addictive substance. We have dealt with Big Tobacco for 80 years - why would we want to usher in Big Marijuana now?

St. Pierre took issue with how the issue was presented by SAM, who he said he hoped he could "work together with" at NORML.

"They're conflating marijuana and tobacco. -- I'm glad to see tobacco use being halted, but we didn't do it by prohibition," said St. Pierre.  

"If we want to see Americans make the choice to use marijuana or not, we have a model in place, which is a progressive taxation model," he continued.  "A vice tax does deter people, and especially youth."
 

 

Related Slideshow: The Highest Marijuana Prices in New England by State

The "crowdsourced" website, The Price of Weed, uses consumer input to show how much an ounce of marijuana costs -- by location.  

Below are the rankings of New England states, from lowest price reported for "medium grade" marijuana, to highest, along with the number ("n") submitting data.  

Prev Next

#6 Rhode Island

Med: $255.9/oz (n=342)

High: $334.16/oz (n=497)

Low: $204.2/oz (n=32)

Prev Next

#5 Maine

Med: $250.52/oz (n=396)

 

High: $323.33/oz (n=424)

Low: $227.68/oz (n=49)

Prev Next

#4 Connecticut

Med: $275.11oz (n=1213)

High: $352.8/oz (n=1216)

Low: $261.74/oz (n=88)

Prev Next

#3 Massachusetts

Med: $297.85 (n=2325)

High: $359.82 (n=2716)

Low: $216.34 (n=211)

Prev Next

#2 New Hampshire

 

Med: $312.57/oz (n=415)

High: $377.1/oz (n=401)

Low: $608.01/oz (n=34)

Prev Next

#1 Vermont

Med: $326.26/oz (n=210)

High: $380.11/oz (n=267)

Low: $187.06/oz (n=24)

 
 

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Comments:

Stephen Jacoby

"[T]here is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk. Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana. I suspect that a day's breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day's dose -- which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint -- of marijuana."
– Lester Grinspoon, MD
Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School

"We've shown that the marijuana gateway effect is not the best explanation for the link between marijuana use and the use of harder drugs. An alternative, simpler and more compelling explanation accounts for the pattern of drug use you see in this country, without resort to any gateway effects. While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts. Our study shows that these doubts are justified.[...]

The people who are predisposed to use drugs and have the opportunity to use drugs are more likely than others to use both marijuana and harder drugs. Marijuana typically comes first because it is more available."

– Andrew Morral, PhD
Researcher, Rand Corporation

"...the overwhelming downward trend strongly suggests that the effect of state medical marijuana laws on teen marijuana use has been either neutral or positive, discouraging youthful experimentation with the drug."

– Mitch Earleywine, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology, State University of New York at Albany
Karen O’Keefe, Esq.
Attorney & Legislative Analyst, Marijuana Policy Project
Report, "Marijuana Use by Young People:
The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws"

General Facts About Marijuana Use

Fact #1: Most marijuana users never use any other illicit drug.

Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug and the vast majority of those who do try another drug never become addicted or go on to have associated problems. Indeed, for the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a so-called gateway drug.[1]

Fact #2: Most people who use marijuana do so occasionally. Increasing admissions for treatment do not reflect increasing rates of clinical dependence.

According to a federal Institute of Medicine study in 1999, fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32 percent of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users do. According to federal data, marijuana treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system rose from 48 percent in 1992 to 58 percent in 2006. Just 45 percent of marijuana admissions met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for marijuana dependence. More than a third hadn’t used marijuana in the 30 days prior to admission for treatment.[2]

Fact #3: Claims about increases in marijuana potency are vastly overstated. In addition, potency is not related to risk of dependence or health impacts.

Although marijuana potency may have increased somewhat in recent decades, claims about enormous increases in potency are vastly overstated and not supported by evidence. Nonetheless, potency is not related to risks of dependence or health impacts. According to the federal government's own data, the average THC in domestically grown marijuana – which comprises the bulk of the US market – is less than 5 percent, a figure that has remained unchanged for nearly a decade. In the 1980s, by comparison, the THC content averaged around 3 percent. Regardless of potency, THC is virtually non-toxic to healthy cells or organs, and is incapable of causing a fatal overdose. Currently, doctors may legally prescribe Marinol, an FDA-approved pill that contains 100 percent THC. The Food and Drug Administration found THC to be safe and effective for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, and wasting diseases. When consumers encounter unusually strong varieties of marijuana, they adjust their use accordingly and smoke less.[3]

Fact #4: Marijuana has not been shown to cause mental illness.

Some effects of marijuana ingestion may include feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. Such experiences can be frightening, but the effects are temporary. That said, none of this is to suggest that there may not be some correlation (but not causation) between marijuana use and certain psychiatric ailments. Marijuana use can correlate with mental illness for many reasons. People often turn to the alleviating effects of marijuana to treat symptoms of distress. One study demonstrated that psychotic symptoms predict later use of marijuana, suggesting that people might turn to the plant for help rather than become ill after use.[4]

Fact #5: Marijuana use has not been shown to increase risk of cancer.

Several longitudinal studies have established that even long-term use of marijuana (via smoking) in humans is not associated with elevated cancer risk, including tobacco-related cancers or with cancer of the following sites: colorectal, lung, melanoma, prostate, breast, cervix. A more recent (2009) population-based case-control study found that moderate marijuana smoking over a 20 year period was associated with reduced risk of head and neck cancer (See Liang et al). And a 5-year-long population-based case control study found even long-term heavy marijuana smoking was not associated with lung cancer or UAT (upper aerodigestive tract) cancers.[5]

Fact #6: Marijuana has been proven helpful for treating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions.

Marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing the nausea induced by cancer chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in AIDS patients, and reducing intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma. There is also appreciable evidence that marijuana reduces muscle spasticity in patients with neurological disorders. A synthetic capsule is available by prescription, but it is not as effective as smoked marijuana for many patients. Learn more about medical marijuana. [6]

Fact #7: Marijuana use rates in the Netherlands are similar to those in the U.S. despite very different policies.

The Netherlands' drug policy is one of the most nonpunitive in Europe. For more than twenty years, Dutch citizens over age eighteen have been permitted to buy and use cannabis (marijuana and hashish) in government-regulated coffee shops. This policy has not resulted in dramatically escalating marijuana use. For most age groups, rates of marijuana use in the Netherlands are similar to those in the United States. However, for young adolescents, rates of marijuana use are lower in the Netherlands than in the United States. The Dutch government occasionally revises existing marijuana policy, but it remains committed to decriminalization.[7]

Fact #8: Marijuana has not been shown to cause long-term cognitive impairment.

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.[8]

Fact #9: There is no compelling evidence that marijuana contributes substantially to traffic accidents and fatalities.

At some doses, marijuana affects perception and psychomotor performance – changes which could impair driving ability. However, in driving studies, marijuana produces little or no car-handling impairment – consistently less than produced by low to moderate doses of alcohol and many legal medications. In contrast to alcohol, which tends to increase risky driving practices, marijuana tends to make subjects more cautious. Surveys of fatally injured drivers show that when THC is detected in the blood, alcohol is almost always detected as well. For some individuals, marijuana may play a role in bad driving. The overall rate of highway accidents appears not to be significantly affected by marijuana's widespread use in society.[9]

Fact #10: Roughly three quarters of a million people are arrested for marijuana each year, the vast majority of
them for simple possession. Police carried out 749,825 arrests of people for marijuana violations in 2012, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report. Marijuana arrests comprise nearly one-half (approximately 48 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States. Approximately 42 percent of all drug arrests nationwide are for marijuana possession. Of all the arrests made for marijuana violations in 2012, approximately 88 percent (658,231) were for possession only. The remaining 91,593 arrests were for charges of “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.[10]

- See footnotes at: http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/10-facts-about-marijuana#sthash.Kwgitbxc.dpuf

Iron Mike Farquhar

Hilarious!

GoLocal seeks to increase readership among drug users, - and predictably local drug merchant [and self-taught Cannabis expert] Stephen Jacoby is first up to bat to demonstrate his total grasp of the subject!

Steve lists lots of expert opinions.

He 'conveniently' overlooked the Dunedin NZ study of 1000 teenage users – over 20 years – which found significant lowering of IQ and significant lifetime addiction.

Hey Steve, how many drug addicts actually read GoLocal? Can you cite statistics and Harvard studies?

Another question Steve: What percent of marijuana is home-grown here in the USA, how much is being grown illegally in state and federal forests, - and how much is being smuggled in by Mexican drug cartels?

Did you read about the drug merchant in California who had his weiner wacked off by his marijuana suppliers...? Steve,...Steve,...are you there?

Stephen Jacoby

A few points:

The Dunedin study was conducted on a wide variety of topics, not just marijuana use. Yes, it was done on a statistical sample of over 1000 people over 40 years, but the marijuana users numbered less than 50 people.

Second, OF COURSE it showed a drop in IQ when heavy marijuana use starts in childhood! The brain has not yet finished developing and any substance is bound to have a huge effect. What happens when kids start drinking alcohol heavily early in life? They surely don't get smarter!! Stupid argument. (You also conveniently forget to mention that the same study showed that, when use started in adulthood, there was NO effect whatsoever on IQ!)

A huge problem exists in the cultivation of illegal marijuana on state property. But that is purely a function of it being kept illegal. If the laws reflected the actual (lack of) danger in its use, then we wouldn't have the grow ops in the forests OR have the cartels smuggling it in - and killing people in the process.

Lastly, I have NO idea how many drug addicts read GoLocal. Probably very few. However, I suspect you might be one of them. Your addiction is probably to Viagra.




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