Study: Adult-Use Legalization Laws Associated with Declining Prices for Cannabis Flower

Waterloo, Canada: Cannabis consumers typically pay lower prices for cannabis flower in states with legal marijuana retail markets than they do in jurisdictions without them, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Waterloo in Canada and with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California assessed cannabis prices and purchasing trends in states with and without licensed adult-use retailers.

They reported that consumers residing in states with mature retail markets rarely solicited the unregulated market in order to obtain cannabis flower. They also determined that retail prices declined over time in state-legal markets and that the average price of cannabis flower in states with legal retail outlets was lower than it was in states without retailers. 

“Consumers paid more for dried flower in illegal, medical, and recreational states without stores, than [they did in] recreational states with stores,” authors concluded. They added: “Among recreational states with stores, consumers reported purchasing [approximately] 80 percent of dried flower from legal sources in the past 12 months. Substantial differences were observed across states, with higher levels of legal purchases in states with retail stores compared with those without. For example, in Washington and Colorado, where recreational stores were open in 2014, consumers reported purchasing close to 90 percent of dried flower from legal sources.”

Full text of the study, “Prices and purchase sources for dried cannabis flower in the United States, 2019-2020,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.