US Marijuana Market “Saturated,” Pot Prices To Fall, Federal Report Says

Washington, DC: Domestic marijuana production has risen dramatically in recent years and will likely result in reduced retail prices for pot, according to the US National Drug Intelligence Center’s (NDIC) 2008 “National Drug Threat Assessment” report.

“[R]ecent increases in cannabis cultivation and marijuana production within the United States coincide with the continued flow of marijuana from foreign sources,” the report finds. “[This] may lead to market saturation in major markets, [which] could reduce the price of the drug significantly.”

Since 2000, the total number of domestic marijuana plants seized by US law enforcement has increased from 2.8 million to over 5.2 million, the report finds. Authors speculate that a significant portion of the increase in pot production is due to commercial growers relocating their operations indoors, which allows them to increase their total number of harvests per year and produce higher-quality cannabis.

“[Though] the demand for marijuana appears to be relatively stable, … many users now prefer … higher-potency marijuana over commercial-grade marijuana,” authors state. Nevertheless, the report concludes that “most” of the marijuana available in the United States continues to be “lower-potency, commercial-grade marijuana produced in Mexico.”

In 2006, law enforcement seized more than 1.1 million kilograms of pot along the US/southwest border, according to the study. By contrast, law enforcement seized fewer than 4,200 kilograms of pot along the US/Canadian border.

Domestically, California continues to lead all US states in pot production, with an estimated 2.9 million plants having been eradicated by law enforcement so far this year. This record total is more than four times the total number of plants seized in 2005.

Among California’s counties, Lake County, Humboldt County, and Shasta County report the largest numbers of pot seizures.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the NDIC report, “National Drug Threat Assessment 2008” is available online at: http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/.