Drug Policy

So Strong You Get High Just by Looking at It

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A newspaper in Naperville, a Chicago suburb, reports that a local man was arrested by state troopers in Ohio last week with "104 pounds of hydroponically grown marijuana" that police said "had an estimated street sale value of more than $4.7 million." As Scott Morgan notes at the Drug War Chronicle's blog, that works out to $2,825 an ounce, which has got to be the most expensive marijuana on record, costing six times the average for premium pot in the latest High Times price report. Perhaps this is the superpot that drug czar John Walters has been warning us about. To be worth that kind of money, it would have to be more than 100 percent THC.  

Addendum: Radley Balko noted this story last night. 

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  1. Dupe! DUPE!!!

    Oh, wait. This isn’t Slashdot.

    I got confused for a moment by the duplicate articles.

  2. Apparently pot is to expensive these days. Time to start shooting up heroin.

  3. Pete and Repeat were on a boat. If Pete got so high he fell off, who was left?

  4. We clearly need a windfall profits tax on weed dealers to fix these extortionary prices

  5. Nigel:

    On the subject of cute linguistic strange-loops, I ran across this one the other day:

    “If I were to ask you for sex, would your answer be the same as the answer to this question?”

  6. I’ve always found the fact that pot prices are so standardized very interesting. It’s sort of an unspoken agreement for a region to have pretty much fixed prices. For good weed, it’s $20/gram, $50/8th, $300/oz. Those have been the prices in northern california for about a decade.

  7. Wow, .. I’m glad I don’t live in No. Cal.. Here in RI it’s about 150-180 an ounce, tops.

  8. Those have been the prices in northern california for about a decade.

    I’ve wondered about that too. If my student workers aren’t pulling my leg, it’s actually cheaper than when I was in college.

  9. Sources say $200/oz in western NY, but that’s for stuff that’ll stick to the wall.

  10. Even for hydro?? Because hydro tends to go for 450 – 600 an oz. in NYC. Or so I’m told.

    Any price higher than 5K-6K/lb. is pure bullshit. Looking at that approximate 45K/lb. price quoted, you would have to imagine they are going at some kind of
    insane calc as follows:

    104 lb = 1,664 oz = 46,592g

    4,700,000 / 46,592g = $101/g

    Which makes it almost twice as much as coke. I’d love to see the math this guy uses on his taxes.

  11. Christ Almighty! Its been roughly 4 years since I bought pot but you could get a brick back then for $300!

  12. Hydro’s fairly unavailable in RI, though the decent stuff is cheap compared to the decent stuff even in NY.

  13. Jacob Sullum is clearly shilling for Big Repost.

  14. Much of NYC’s stuff is grown in Western NY.

  15. These cops could prove their estimates by having a “bake” sale. Imagine how much surplus military equipment they could buy with $5M!

  16. These cops could prove their estimates by having a “bake” sale. Imagine how much surplus military equipment they could buy with $5M!

    Please, PLEASE don’t feed the monkeys with notions of profitability.

  17. Hydro doesn’t neccessarily mean better in northern California. The variety is more important. Growers here use clones that they can buy legally from the clubs, then they just continue to take their own cuttings to maintain an operation. Most of the good stuff is clones of cannabis cup winners. Recognizable names here gets you regular prices, $300 an oz. There are excellent outdoor growers that can produce weed comparable to hydroponic productions. If it’s more than $300 oz, it’s gotta be last years cup winner or just some insanely good shit.

  18. Yes I’m talking about the super-premium shit, like sour diesel, g-13, jack herer, hindu kush, etc.

  19. That How High shit? That Pineapple Express?

  20. Weed prices also react to scale. Lets say you sell weed for $300 an oz. There are 16 oz in a lb, but you don’t sell lbs for $4800, you sell lbs for $3,000. That way there are multiple levels of dealers who all make their cut. The guy that grows it doesn’t go around selling dubs to people. Law enforcement loves to ignore this fact and inflate their numbers by multiplying the smallest unit street price by the quantity of weed they have.
    Of course these troopers in ohio aren’t even doing that. They just made up a really big number and figured nobody would do the math.

  21. Uh, I’m sure everyones familiar, but I wanted to remind you that hydroponics is growing a plant in water, instead of soil. The benefit is the greater control of ppm of nutrients that your plant receives.

    That said, quality of marijuana is decided more by strain. Not to mention, growers who buy seeds see a higher price on good strains, like the kush strains (i.e. bubba kush, hindu kush)mentioned above. Obviously, higher starting prices trickles down to more expense pot.

    Head to head a grower can grow pot just as well in dirt as in hydroponics. Actually, if outside, you can usually get a bigger yield from dirt. Dirt also takes less effort to get a good plant from.

    In other words, those who sell “hydroponic” or “hydro” as better or more expensive is the equivilent to someone yelling “extreme” in saturday morning cartoon commericals. They’re just trying to make it sound cool so they can rip you off.

  22. Ska,

    Might want to check your math (or mine):

    Even for hydro?? Because hydro tends to go for 450 – 600 an oz. in NYC. Or so I’m told.

    Any price higher than 5K-6K/lb. is pure bullshit.

    $600*16= $9600

    $450*16= $7200

    Both are above the range you mention.

  23. Grandaddy purple, alaskan thunderfuck, white widow, blueberry, northern lights

  24. g13 is some of the best weed I’ve ever smoked. I actually do not prefer my weed that strong. It’s incapacitating.
    ska, I’ve never been to ny but 450-600/oz seems ridiculous. sounds like what a smart dealer would charge some wall street suit just to rip him off.

  25. Or maybe the dealers have just been screwing the cops over on their pot prices.

  26. We clearly need a windfall profits tax on weed dealers to fix these extortionary prices

    It is a well known fact that DHMO is used in the hydroponic production process. The growers are increasingly dependant on imported DHMO, which has been getting more expensive because food producers have discovered that it can be used in that industry too.

    Big Food needs to be stopped if we are every going to have reasonable DHMO price levels again.

  27. g13 is middies. Try alaskan thunderfuck, 747, big laughing or fire hydrant. Or kush..kush is the best right now.

    Any of those will run you 450-600 an oz from a small to mid size grower, if it’s grown well. Grown poorly, you’ll still have some shitty weed.

    Montag,

    Your math is correct, but you always pay much less when you buy in bulk. Has to do with the “moving it quick factor”.

  28. In california, since it’s very easy to get clones, most growers do not use seeds. Seeds are unreliable, and many of the newest strains are f1 hybrids, which means their seeds will not produce the same plant, even if you can control which plant pollinated it. If you are already growing a good strain, you just take cuttings of a few mother plants to start your next crop. This means better strains are not associated with higher production overhead.

  29. Your math is correct, but you always pay much less when you buy in bulk. Has to do with the “moving it quick factor”.

    Gotcha and caught that in another post.

    The cop math was like when people read commodities prices or currency exchange rates in the newspaper and think that is for single units, not that it is the price per unit in $1m chunks, or whatever they place as the quantity.

  30. 450-600/oz is crazy. where are you deluded?
    you won’t pay that much here in norther California, I guarantee it. not even at the clubs.

  31. .,

    They are using genmod pot in Cali? No way! How many of the anti-genmod food people are high on that stuff?

  32. guy,
    no, it’s not gmod the way flavor saver tomatoes are gmod. it’s gmod the way any domesticated plant is. careful cultivation, selecting for traits, and all that.
    f1 hybrid just means that they got a specific variety after one or two crossbreedings, but they haven’t been made homozygous so their offspring still has sporadic traits. You need a good 20 generations to make the traits stick.

  33. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear, but that was for the strands I listed.

    For your run of the mill pot on the streets, named only “swag” “middies” and “danke” I wouldn’t pay more than 250/oz for danke

  34. Guys in my highschool used to sell weed for 45K a pound all the time, it was no big deal.

  35. I’m on the east coast. Cali has legal pot which loosens up legality for growing the substance. Even regulated, the competition lowers your prices. A few friends of mine have attested to that.

    Lucky Bastard

  36. Guy your math is right, but economies of scale do effect price (as has been mentioned). The article is saying 104 lbs is worth 4,700,000. Which would be $45,192 per pound.

    I broke it down to gram prices to account for the police’s version of calculating value, which is generally at the “if I sold all this weed as individual bags to people.” Economies of scale is never considered; if that weed was sold all at once at, say, 4K/lb it would be a little over 400K.

  37. yeah Guy they are not using radiation bombardment or splicing new protein sequences into the DNA or anything like that. that’s the kind of stuff that gets the anti-gmod folks up in arms. selective breeding has been going on for thousands of years and every single domesticated plant has been modified this way.

  38. Josh, i think you mean 4500 not 45K

  39. What this country needs is a good $10 lid.

  40. I have to say that I am surprised at the level of knowledge of the economy of marijuana on display. Also the prices are a lot higher than I would have guessed. Does anyone know about the relative difficulty of marijuana cultivation compared to tobacco? I know I’ve never seen cigarette tobacco that cost more than 5 dollars an ounce.

  41. Jervas, tobacco is not easier to grow. But tobacco growers can employ extremely large scale operations. Weed growers generally have to put up with extreme risks and can only manage relatively small operations.

  42. Jervas —

    As it happens, marijuana is much easier to grow than tobacco, which is a real bitch of a plant to cultivate. Not that marijuana is by any stretch *easy* (if you are aiming for any notable quality).

    In point of fact, W. R. Hearst (may he burn in the non-existent hot place) tried to shut the hemp farmers down precisely because hemp growing required less labor and cost than the competing fibers.

  43. Now thats what I call a cash crop! How arrogant of the cops to claim they determined it was grown hydroponically like they would know. Typical WoD bullshit from the people that bring us the daily War on Drugs.

    To be that valuable it would have to be one sniff shit. I better not even have to light it to get high at that price. Then it would really be more economical over the long run than the kind you have to burn to enjoy.

  44. You cannot tell if a crop is grown hydroponically by looking at it.

    Color is determined by strain and nutrients/chemicals. Shape/size is determined by pruning and strain. Smell is determined by strain and chemicals.

    Unless they did a detailed chemical analysis (and I’m not certain this is even possible) there is no way they know how it was grown.

  45. You cannot tell if a crop is grown hydroponically by looking at it.

    It can be really hard to grow bona fide sinsemilla outdoors, at least in some parts of the country. Even if you dump the males as soon as they show, there’s often enough wild hemp around to pollinate the females in your patch.

    Er, at least that’s what I’ve heard.

    So, pure sinsemilla is probably indoor, but whether its grown in dirt or hydro, there’s no way to tell.

  46. It seems to be very easy to grow. Around here (Iowa), the non-smokable stuff is a noxious weed and almost impossible to get rid of. I remember a number of years ago seeing the headline “Marijuana found growing at Boy Scout camp”. The idiot reporter didn’t have a clue. I doubt the good stuff is much more difficult to grow.

  47. Unless they did a detailed chemical analysis (and I’m not certain this is even possible) there is no way they know how it was grown.

    On the other hand, maybe they just asked the dealer.

  48. Heh, I grew up in Naperville. Don’t remember weed being that expensive.

  49. i think the police are over exaggerating the value in an attempt to make weed look bad…..there is effin way I would pay 200 for an ounce…..so there is really no effin way i’d pay 2000+….no i really think either is dealer is the most optimistic man alive or the police are liars…like usually…

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