Marijuana “Worth Its Weight In Gold,” US Government Says

Washington, DC: Black market prices for pot rose steadily in the 1980s, declined during the 1990s, and are once again increasing, according to a federal report tracking the price and purity of controlled substances.

Authors of the report analyzed over 20 years of data collected from the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence (STRIDE) database. According to the DEA’s data, “marijuana price trends are not highly correlated with trends in process of other drugs over time.” For example, authors note that street prices for cocaine and heroin fell during the 1980s while the price of marijuana rose steadily, peaking in 1991.

Authors report that the average price for pot fell in the 1990s, but began rising once again after 2000.

“This recent price increase leaves current marijuana prices near their 20-year averages,” the study concludes. “Marijuana is quite literally worth its weight in gold.”

The report did not analyze long-term trends in marijuana’s potency because STRIDE fails to document the drug’s purity. However, a 2006 report by the US National Drug Intelligence Center states that “most of the marijuana available in the domestic drug markets is lower potency commercial-grade marijuana.”

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at: Full text of the White House report, “The Price and Purity of Illicit Drugs: 1981 Through the Second Quarter of 2003,” is available online at: