Navigate to our accessibility widget

Thursday February 18, 2021

By Erin Hiatt


If you’re a cannabis consumer who has had the opportunity to make purchases in different legal states (or if you happen to have knowledge of the illicit market, for some reason) you have probably noticed that the cost of cannabis can vary, sometimes by quite a bit. There are many factors at play here; region, taxes, quality, supply and demand, indoor vs. outdoor grows, and local competition to mention a few. While the cost of a pound of weed is something very few consumers will need to worry about in a literal way, its cost trickles down to the end products for consumers. So let’s take a look at how much a pound of weed is worth. 

COVID’s Effect on Cannabis Prices

But first, a word about 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. There were a few key factors that exerted a kind of push-and-pull effect on the cost of a pound of cannabis in 2020, and not all of them are yet understood. The pandemic brought about a number of variables as cannabis businesses were deemed essential by many states and allowed to remain open with some restrictions. In response to pandemic restrictions, some states waived regulations regarding cannabis delivery or implemented curbside pickup to prevent consumers from having to spend time shopping indoors. Statisticians are still trying to make sense of exactly how those major changes affected sales. 

Were more orders placed with expanded access to deliveries? Were they enough to recoup sales missed from in-person retail? It’s still hard to say how large a role each played in last year’s pot prices. As cannabis markets like Oregon, Colorado, and Washington have settled in and matured, it was anticipated that wholesale cannabis prices would continue their year-over-year decline. However, in 2020 weed prices were up slightly from previous years, despite COVID restrictions. 

Someone at a dispensary paying from their car curbside
It is not yet exactly sure how COVID has affected the cost of cannabis. photo credit

For example, California - the largest producer of cannabis in the U.S. at more than 13 million pounds per year - saw a price drop of 12 percent in 2019. The price of a pound of wholesale California weed did drop in 2020 but only slightly, from $1,550 to $1,510. In Colorado, the cost of a pound of outdoor wholesale cannabis costs $1,327, and in Oregon, $1,470. 

Another factor that contributes to the cost of a pound of weed is demand, and 2020 saw demand for cannabis skyrocket in both legal and illicit markets. Sales in legal adult-use states saw an increase of 50 percent across all markets. On the flip side, the wildfire season in California’s Emerald Triangle and parts of Oregon burned many farms to the ground and rained ash on plants that did survive, so in the coming year we may see a drop in supply. If high demand remains ongoing, that could push the cost of a pound of weed higher rather than lower, as is the historic norm. 

The Average Price of a Pound of Cannabis in 2020

For now, the most recent numbers from Cannabis Benchmark reports these averages for legal markets: 

Average Marijuana Prices in Legal Markets:

  • Average wholesale price per pound for adult-use cannabis: $1,600
  • Average wholesale price per pound for medicinal: $1,800
  • Average for greenhouse-grown cannabis: $1,350
  • Average for indoor-grown cannabis: $1,900
  • Average for outdoor-grown cannabis: $750
  • Median average: $1,650

Marijuana Prices By State

While illicit market averages tend to follow legal markets fairly closely, this terrific resource from gets into more details of the cost of a pound of weed in a few medicinal, adult-use, and illicit markets across the country. Here’s what’s happening in a few key places: 


Legal medicinal: $2,000

Legal adult-use: $1,7000-2,000

Illicit medicinal: $1,700-2,000

Illicit adult-use: $1,637-1,785


Legal medicinal: $1,545-2,202

Legal adult-use: $1,332-1,875

Illicit medicinal: $1,604-$1,962

Illicit adult-use: $1,515-$1,962


Legal medicinal: $1,584-3,000

Legal adult-use: $1,990-2,302

Illicit medicinal: $1,200-2,160

Illicit adult-use: $1,385-2,500

The Wrap Up

As for how much a pound of weed is actually worth, it is both a literal and an existential question. It is literal for medicinal patients who require a steady supply of affordable and accessible cannabis, as well as business owners whose livelihood derives from consistent supply and a reasonable expectation that the markets will stabilize regardless of challenges (as they’ve demonstrated during the COVID era). Existentially, is there any amount of weed that can get us through what remains of this pandemic? We shall see.

How much does cannabis cost in your area? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Joshua K (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

More From This Author

Related Articles