Drug War

The Geography of Pot Prices


Using consumer-submitted data collected by PriceofWeed.com, University of Kentucky geographer Matthew Zook, Oxford Internet Institute research fellow Mark Graham, and University of Arizona graduate student Monica Stephens produced this map, which shows where in the United States pot is relatively cheap and where it is relatively expensive. The map, which is reproduced in the September issue of Wired, is based on more than 16,000 anonymous purchase reports, with outliers removed. "One of the things that jumps out clearly," Zook et al. write, "is the low prices associated with the marijuana production sites [of] Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt [counties] in California as well as Kentucky and Tennessee." Nationwide, average prices were $377 per ounce for high-quality marijuana, $245 for medium, and $138 for low.

For more analysis of the data, see Zook et al.'s working paper. Brian Doherty noted the Price of Weed site last September.

[Thanks to Mark Sletten for the tip.]


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  1. Visit me here in Humboldt County, Reasonoids. We’ll party.

    1. I love Humboldt county!

  2. At the risk of sounding pedantic, perhaps you should include some quantity measure with your pricing? $377 for high quality marijuana? Pound, kilo, ounce, gram, bale, leaf, plant? What?

    1. ^^beat me to it.

    2. Pfft. You obviously have no experience with the drug underworld. Anyone in the know just walks up to a dealer and says: “I’d like a marijuana please.”

    3. tr00f

    4. Following the links to the paper you eventually discover the price is per ounce.

      1. It seems like laws have little to do with with price – Boston, NYC, DC & LA have high prices, while metro Ft. Wayne, IN -Lima, OH, Colby, KS, Savannah & Tampa are cheap.

        1. I predict that wherever marijuana is medicalized, taxed and regulated, its price, like all things healthcare related where the government is involved, will go up.

          1. perhaps but when fully legalized the price will fall below blackmarket.

            1. uh, when it is legal there will be no black market.

              1. comparison was using paul’s opinion that the legal price will go up…vs the the blackmarket price which was implied.

                1. Like cigarettes. An excellent example of a legal product whose price is below the black market price.

                  1. That doesn’t quite work, considering the cigarette taxes are designed to raise the legal price so people will stop smoking. If marijuana were legalized but taxed through the roof there would still be a black market, and the black market price would be lower.

                    Think of it this way. Setting the “legal” price of a commodity to infinity is equivalent to banning it. So the black market price is always lower than the legal price in that sense. But if you fully legalize a product by allowing the *market* to set the price (instead of imposing prohibitive taxes), the black market (now market) price will generally fall.

                    1. That doesn’t quite work, considering the cigarette taxes are designed to raise the legal price so people will stop smoking. If marijuana were legalized but taxed through the roof there would still be a black market, and the black market price would be lower.

                      If you’re responding to my post, Hazel, you missed my snark. Legal prices of cigarettes are way, WAY higher than the black market price– because my point is, when the government gets involved in regulating “dangerous products”, the high price and onerous regulation are the genesis of the black market.

          2. Healthcare can’t be grown as easily in your back yard.

          3. Well, it’s cheapest in California, so that would seem to contradict your thesis.

            1. It’s most expensive in L.A. So it confirms the thesis rather well.

              1. Of course, I should further note that I’m not making a chest-pounding absolute prediction. I’m just using past performance to guess what future results will be.

                We’ll see what happens when the government gets its tentacles completely wrapped around “legal weed” and the usual nanny-state suspects start putting two-and-two together.

        2. Laws can have an effect on how the stuff is consumed.
          Where I moved from paraphernalia laws were lax and largely unenforced, so everyone carried a pipe of some sort. Get caught and the cop might make you throw it into the woods.
          Round here they’ll put you in jail for having a pipe, so everyone smokes joints.

        3. Weed is almost legal in Ohio. Possession of up to 100 grams gets you nothing but a citation and a $150 fine.

          1. That does explain OH prices. I also suspect East Texas is high due to enforcement / harsh laws rather than no one smoking in Houston.

            However, you can be locked up for a year for any possession in FL. Indiana has almost the exact same penalties as Florida. Kansas also has similar laws.

            1. I suspect prices in Arkansas are low because of Bill Clinton.

            2. Kansas has actually recently passed legislation. For simple possession of 1 oz or less, it’s now a mere $100 fine.

        4. Prices are higher in areas where it can’t be grown. The risk of shipping illicit substances adds considerably to prices.

    5. Oz.

  3. may I please have one unit of your finest product?

    1. no prob, give-up one unit of ur wallet mofo

      1. Clearly someone who’s never bought weed.

  4. Next Question:

    Bob, how many joints are in a lid?

  5. I’m thinking vacation to the west coast. First Napa, then the triangle.

  6. Now we need a map for the price of blow.

    1. Don’t forget the matching map for the price of hookers.

    1. even if you have to poach the work.



    2. We’ll see if the trend holds over time, but so far there are two positive comments (from the same guy), and 15 negative comments. Looks like they might be reconsidering that open comment policy.

  7. What’s the deal with western Nebraska & Kansas & their cheap weed? Do they grow the stuff out there?

    1. It grows on the side of the road out there – hence the term ‘ditch weed’.

      1. ditchweed is the male plant

        1. That explains the seeds…. idjit

          1. unlike the male plant, the female plant doesnt randomly grow in ditches.

            1. You are quite the botanist. Not surprising, considering you are also quite the economist, and political scientist.

              The (unfertilized) female plant is not found randomly in ditches. (That whole nature thingy) Hence, the seeds.

      2. So if I ever take a cross-country road trip, I should keep my eyes peeled in that part of teh country?

        Ditchweed is better’n noweed, methinks.

        1. You’ll get a headache before you get high.
          Though I knew some dude who crammed a bunch into a crock pot, covered it with rubbing alcohol, evaporated out the alcohol, and was left with some sticky green hash oil on the bottom.
          Then he dropped it. Never could get the shit out of the carpet.

          1. I’d always heard that “you have to smoke a shoebox full to get a headache”. Then I was working at an Army base in KS in the early fall. It seems quite a bit of the wild weed somehow adhered to the undercarriage of our vehicle so we decided to destroy the poison by drying it out in the hotel microwave. Fearing it still might fall into the hands of innocent, dumpster diving children we decided it was best to incinerate it in tubes of paper rolled from the handy Gideon Bible. The microwave didn’t quite get it dry enough to burn completely on it’s own so we decided drawing air through the burning tubes might do the trick.

            Long story short: I’ve paid for worse.

            1. Somehow you have just qualified for both the ranks of amateur and McGuyver. Trying to cure freshly harvested skunk in the microwave…

      3. Ditchweed is a different strain of marijuana decendant from varieties of industrial hemp. The average THC concentration of ditchweed is 0.05%, whereas in regular marijuana it’s 3% (whole plant) or 7.5% (buds & flowers). If you wanted to get high on ditchweed, you’d need to smoke 60 to 150 times more than you would regular weed.

        1. See above. I’d estimate the buds of “Ft Riley Green” to be around .5% + after deseeding and discarding all leaf and stem. Hard to say as it wasn’t fully dry and we were burning big spliffs.

    2. Being from Kansas, specifically from the Kansas City area, I can attest to the cheap prices. It has been a few years, but it was not uncommon to get a ounce of decent weed for between $80-$120. It was not great, but a joint would get a a couple of people high. Of course if you wanted to get some KB you could pay that much for a quarter. I believe one reason maybe due to the proximity of I-35,which runs through the center of KC. I-35 runs all the way from the Texas-Mexico border all the way into norther Minnesota.

      1. Yeah, the price is about the same in Des Moines where I live. Since Des Moines is the junction of 2 major interstates I-35 & I-80. There is a lot of traffic moving through here. A quarter of good home grown bud would run you about $60.

    3. What’s the deal with western Nebraska & Kansas & their cheap weed? Do they grow the stuff out there?

      There is also fairly brisk cross-border trade with Colorado. What’s that? How do I know? Nunya.

  8. Looks like some good arbitrage opportunities in that map.

    1. I-40, western to eastern TN. Dont even have to cross state lines.

      1. Richmond, Indiana to Gary, Indiana. $200 per ounce extra profit, for a pleasant 4 hour drive. Of course, the Indiana State Police are vigilant, so I would urge extreeeeeme caution.

  9. So I can buy pot retail in the west and then sell it for more then double retail in the east.

    Anyone ever play that space trading game “Elite”?

    1. yea they tried that in the movie blow. didnt work out so well in the end

      1. It worked out real well, he made a fortune. Not knowing when to stop was the problem.

  10. Prices are high in LA because everyone is on coke instead.

  11. I knew there was a reason Nick Gillespie still lives in western Ohio.

    Road trip to Dayton, dude!

  12. ArcGIS Fuckin’ A!!!

  13. I don’t get the bit about Tennessee and Kentucky having cheap weed – the map does NOT show that, at least not compared to several other places.

    Oddly, the Charlotte region appears to be cheaper than Asheville, and there’s something going on around Savannah.

  14. Yellow anywhere in California? I don’t believe it. Something is wrong with the study. lol.

    I call bullshit.

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