How Much Will a Legal Marijuana Habit Cost You?

If you're an average pot smoker in Colorado — paying average prices for average-quality marijuana — you can expect to spend around $650 on weed next year

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If you’re an average pot smoker in Colorado — paying average prices for average-quality marijuana — you can expect to spend around $650 on weed next year.

A study conducted by the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University aimed to get to the bottom of how much the state can expect to collect in tax revenue, now that marijuana is legal. By doing a little extra math, we can get a rough estimate for what the average marijuana enthusiast will spend annually as well.

Researchers estimate that in 2014, 642,772 Colorado residents, or about 12.5% of the state population, will take advantage of pot’s newly legal status. Analysts assumed each person would smoke or otherwise use 3.53 oz. (100 g) of marijuana annually, for a total of 2,268,985 oz. (about 64,320 kg) per year.

All of these numbers may be underestimated, because they’re based on data compiled when recreational marijuana was illegal. In fact, there are so many unknowns in the realm of legal nonmedicinal pot that all of this math has a crude back-of-the-napkin quality to it. In any event, using the study’s numbers, the average marijuana enthusiast can expect to pay a retail price of $185 per oz. next year. Multiply that times 3.53 oz. — which no one can buy at once, mind you, because there’s a 1-oz. (28 g) purchase maximum for residents — and the total comes to $653 annually spent on pot.

(MORE: This Exists: Medical Marijuana for Pets)

How much the individual actually winds up spending on marijuana will depend on several factors, most obviously the quality (and price) of the pot and how much one smokes. Researchers used the crowdsourcing site Price of Weed to get the $185-per-oz. figure. As of early April, an ounce of marijuana was averaging $206 on the black market, and because the price is expected to drop once pot is legal, the study landed on $185. If the smoker is opting for higher-quality, $300-per-oz. marijuana, his annual pot bill would top $1,000. That’s for someone smoking the average of 3.53 oz. per year. A heavy smoker who goes with $300-per-oz. pot and uses, say, half an ounce monthly could expect to drop $1,800 annually on his habit.

That may sound like a lot. But a pot-smoking habit is probably cheaper than a cigarette-smoking habit. Colorado is one of the cheaper states for cigarettes, but a pack still goes for around $5.19, according to one state-by-state price-check compilation. So a one-pack-per-day habit — purchased one pack at a time, not by the carton — comes to $1,894 for a year.

Health officials say once medical expenses and things like lost productivity due to the effects of smoking are incorporated, an addiction to cigarettes is far more costly than that. For that matter, plenty of arguments have been made that legalizing marijuana will result in increased usage and addiction, as well as higher rates of driving while stoned, so the costs to society outweigh any benefits that arise from approving the drug for recreational use.

(MORE: No One Has to Work as Little as an American to Afford Beer)

Oh, and about the point of the Colorado State study, regarding tax revenue for the state? Researchers estimate that the 15% excise tax on wholesale marijuana would yield $21.7 million annually, which is far short of the $40 million annual target. To hit the target, marijuana would have to cost a lot more than the prices that have been estimated, or people in Colorado would have to buy a lot more marijuana than the forecasts project. Neither is likely to occur, the study states. “As competition forces growers and sellers to be more efficient, margins will erode, and both wholesale cost and retail prices are forecast to fall,” the report reads. And instead of usage rising year after year, the study’s authors foresee a “decline in the rate of growth of consumption as the ‘wow’ factor erodes over time, and any marijuana tourism begins to decline, particularly if other states follow Colorado and Washington and legalize marijuana.”

159 comments
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$185-300 an ounce?? You people have got a serious problem if you are willing to spend that kind of dough on a substance that makes you feel stupid. Step back, look at where your life if leading you.......you are a dumbass.

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CjMacintosh
CjMacintosh

I just buried one of my last childhood friends at the age of 54 , yes he had the flu And started coughing could not catch his breath and died in his tracks , at the hospital I ask his doctor was it flu or pot that killers him he said BOTH , so don't let anyone tell you that no one has ever died from POT ! And it states on the death certificate cause of death was respiratory failure from smoking (marijuana is all that he smoked ) and complications of the flu ! The price was pretty high for him !

EdwardKeller
EdwardKeller

So, if he choked on a pot brownie, the cause of death is POT???? Don't be naive! Pot didn't kill him. He lost his breath, he suffocated. The flu, which already made it hard for him to breath, couple with the fact that he was trying to smoke, caused this suffocation. NOT pot, he could have been trying to smoke anything. The effects of POT did not kill this man. Smoking while suffer from the flu, or flu like symptom, unfortunately, lead to this man's death. SMOKING!!!! Not Pot! Would have happened if he inhaled any product,... Tobacco, Cannabis, Salvia, or a damn banana peel. Further, more, inhalants like endust, or paints, would have also also caused this, as he took in a deep breath and failed to regain his composure and take another. So, again, don't be naive, POT didn't cause this death. Inhaling things when he was already have trouble breathing killed him and the Doctor should have been more clear on the act of inhaling anything being his demise and not POT!

WillD22
WillD22

A heavy user can smoke an ounce in two weeks easily. So it would be quite higher. 3 ounces per year is not much at all.

NathanWalker
NathanWalker

I'm hardly a mathamagician, but if the sales tax that is proposed of just 5% is applied to sales of $185 an ounce pot, and there is an estimated 2,268,985 ounces sold in a year, that would come to nearly $21 million alone in taxes.  $42 million if it's 10%. 

 I'm trying to figure out how they calculated that there would be $21 million in revenue from the 15% excise tax, and how they calculated a wholesale number for it in the first place.

PeeQue
PeeQue

Smoking cost me a heart attack. Price that by the day.

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DanielColeman
DanielColeman

@PeeQueJust as Tylenol isn't for everyone, neither is marijuana. Where I know one individual who has seizures after smoking, I've never had a seizure in ten years of heavy use.

bashpr0mpt
bashpr0mpt

I wouldn't consider $94 relevant enough to say 'smoking weed is cheaper than cigarettes' because that is the only take away fact most people will see in this article. Especially given your weed smoking statistics are horribly under-exagerated given that most people with a habit smoke an oz a day at least to compare to a habit of a pack a day for smokers (with both being the higher scale of 'heavy smoker' for each drug) bringing the weed price to $67,525 a highly different price than the smokers $1,894!

It's pretty clear the article writer is new to this whole tabloidal stuff, you're meant to exagerate blindly whilst citing random pulled-out-your-ass statistics like the ones above. Now consider a 50% tax share or more (assuming they slowly go the way cigarettes did to the point they're nearly 400-500% taxation, in Australia where I live cigarettes imported for $2 a pack of 50 retail for $32 roughly, and $30 of that is taxation!) on $67,525 and tell me it's not profitable for them to tax marijuana! ;)

steve2
steve2

@JamesHale I've been smoking weed since 1968. Though I may have a slightly higher tolerance than most people, there is no way in the world that I could smoke an ounce of high grade bud in a day. The smoking habits of people like Bob Marley, Snoop Dog and Willie Nelson have become subjects for stoner mythology.  I have a feeling that exceeding an ounce of top quality smoke within a 24-hour period is a rare occurrence, even for those guys.

JamesHale
JamesHale

@bashpr0mpt I have to question your expertise in this arena. Any actual pot smoker knows an ounce is a CRAPLOAD of pot--dried plants don't weigh very much. It would take a smoker of Snoop Dog's caliber to smoke an ounce in 1 day--and most recreational users don't chain smoke pot (at least the 60 or 70 smokers I know). If the pot is even halfway decent the highs last for hours. There are too many variables to account for such as bowl size, quality, tolerance, etc. but when smoking 2 bowls a night  a quarter ounce of pot lasts close to 2 weeks. Don't take my word for it--there are forums full of pot smokers everywhere--example: http://www.rollitup.org/toke-n-talk/82163-how-long-does-ounce-last.html

GaryHafley
GaryHafley

@bashpr0mpt  Dropped when you were a child?  Heavy smokers are the only ones that would smoke that much!  So is alcohol drinkers, alcoholics are the only ones that drink to much everyday! You are defiantly against legalizing pot.!  The only thing I see that ought to be a condition is not driving.  This will sure help the economy!!!


deskofmikewestbrook
deskofmikewestbrook

This is all guesswork, and the statistics for only smoking 3 oz/year is just ridiculous.  Whoever wrote this is obviously not a marijuana smoker, has no idea of the topic on which he/she is writing, and perhaps may want to consider refraining from trying to sound intelligent or educated on a topic that is OBVIOUSLY not in his/her realm of expertise.

techbizcs
techbizcs

Marijuana will never be legal federally and the legality of CO and WA will not last. There is no future in legal marijuana in the USA.

Awyseguy
Awyseguy

@techbizcs give me a good reason why it won't. I've been doing research on cannabis for over 10 years and have yet found a reason for it to even be illegal in the first place aside from historical issues and conspiracy issues. So please tell me more.

DominicBlais
DominicBlais

stoned drivers are not like drunk drivers oxford did a study and found marijuana users were more cautious and safer drivers if regular users ( occasional users did worse )

roninkai
roninkai

It is a weed. Everybody is going to have plants growing in their yards.

For FREE. 

Vapid article based on the idea you can sell anything at a profit.


RichyBocaz
RichyBocaz

The correct name is Marihuana or Mariguana not Marijuana.

gllahone84
gllahone84

As stated in the moonshine article, paying taxes on something like moonshine, but in this case marijuana takes away the credibility of the product somewhat. 

I know it may not make sense from a judicial standpoint, but for years buying marijuana was like a game of cat and mouse when it came to the authorities, and burning was simply a right of passage, or a big f you to the establishment. So as radical as one could be by smoking, that's what our intentions were by partaking in the act. But I am all for legalization, and can not wait until the day when all states follow suit. 

rutnerh
rutnerh

Business opp for tobacco plantation owners or other growers, process in bonded facilities similar to tobacco, fed and state tax it at tobacco rates and sell alongside tobacco products with similar age restrictions for medicinal and rec uses...at cost lower than cigs, as low as as 10 cents per fix. No need to buy it from pusher and in the process sav e multi billions

paco89146
paco89146

http://InSaintGeorgeUT.com:

Cost’s never been an issue, right? From the traditional "La Cucaracha", the theme song of the Mexican revolution which contains the memorable lyric, "No tiene Marijuana que fumar" (“doesn’t have any marijuana to smoke”) to DYLAN’s -- "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (1966) the song's chorus, "Everybody must get stoned," makes you forget about any cost considerations and those rainy day women, whatever numbers they're high on.

Doubtom
Doubtom

The answer to that question is simple---it will always cost more than it should.

CarolynMarisa
CarolynMarisa

Marijuana is NOT habit-forming - NOT an addictive drug.  Enthusiasts simply like to indulge from time to time.  It should have been legalized 40 years ago.....I can say that and am NOT a user.

RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

´Not interesting !! ´Just spend your allowance and stay stupid... Donah..//

daddah7
daddah7

I think you forgot to include the TOURISTS that will be vacationing every chance they get in Colorado... They may also smoke more than your average pot smoker, as they are traveling to experience what they have been dreaming about for years.

Sharpen your pencils...

KGelner
KGelner

I saw a sale sign in a Glenwood Springs (a few hours west of Denver) "Pharmacy" recently for $110//oz.  Given how easy pot is to grow I don't see how the price is going to stay anywhere near $185/oz once it's considered a legal substance.

daveyesdave
daveyesdave

Bwahahahaha.  These people are hilarious!

When I was smoking I considered myself a moderate pot head/smoker (take your pick).  Which means basically other than working a normal corporate type M-F 9-5 job, and the occasional get together with friends or family that weren't "cool"; we were smoking from when I got home til the wife and I went to bed.  On the weekends we smoked all day and night, hanging with other smoker friends usually.

As long as finances were good and goods freely flowing we would get 1oz every two weeks.

3.5oz a year?  I don't even consider that person a pot smoker.  Buying a six-pack of beer three times a year doesn't make someone a drinker. Just makes them someone who's had an occasional drink.

ƎnzoProphEcyErrǝra
ƎnzoProphEcyErrǝra

this year i decided not to renew my medical card considering I was not going to be allowed to grow any new plants anyway. I would only waste about $120 a month mainting my plants and i produce quite a yield, but i quickly found out that it was going to be more costly buying it off the streets because my weekly expenses were easily the same as what i would pay in a month. To add to the list of negatives I was only able to pick up no more than dub a day and since it was street bud its usually less potent or even dry at times. Not to mention how sketchy it is to meet an old friend from high school, or even kids that still are in high school just to get some bud. Just legalize it.


AnthonyChaney
AnthonyChaney

Dispensaries in California rip off those in need due to medical illness. They charge on average $350 to $420 for an ounce. That's why they buy off the street because you can get an ounce for $60 to $140 but you risk being exposed to marijuana laced with embalming fluid, cocaine, speed or other crap. Marijuana just needs to be legal like it use to be.

MaxxSalazzar
MaxxSalazzar

That's quite expensive . You can get 2-3 ounces off an indoor plant that you grow yourself

KathyRJopling
KathyRJopling

dont forget the added taxes they will charge. thats the reason cigs are so much.

traditionalamerican1773
traditionalamerican1773

At that price there will still be plenty of black market opportunities. How do you tell legal weed from illegal weed?

p.armstrongtrucking
p.armstrongtrucking

wont cost nothin. cause i wont buy from anyone somethin i can can grow for free

jamesyoung76
jamesyoung76

I spend about $5000 a year on it, and i don't even have enough to properly medicate myself.. man i can wait for the drug i rely on to stay alive to be free the way it should be.

KobeWild
KobeWild

Pot is wonderful cheap as compared to it's effect and quantity used.

One or two puff's is more than enough for me.   Works out to about $1,00 a hit that's if you smoked every day which I don't.

I use it for pain suppression, I lift weights and bike and if I over do.. that makes for a very painful and restless night.. Pot helps me sleep.  I wake up refreshed and without stinking of "tiger balm" or "bengay". Which is how I use to try to control pain.