In order to calculate the cost of marijuana across the country, PriceOfWeed.com goes straight to the customers.
The website collects anonymous submissions from users about how much they spent on their last deal, specifying location, quantity and quality. The information is used to glean a statewide price for an ounce of low- to high-quality marijuana.
Our own Michael Montgomery has written about the declining value of a pound of weed in California and the effect of the downturn on growers in the state:
Matt Cohen is one of those growers who are making it. On an organic farm near Ukiah, Cohen raises chickens, grows vegetables and cultivates high-grade medical pot. He has avoided the downturn by distributing marijuana directly to patients. But other growers who rely on middlemen and dealers for legal and illegal sales are in financial trouble.
The information gleaned from California smokers on PriceOfWeed.com seems to agree with the numbers in Montgomery's story.
While growers once got up to $5,000 for a pound of their pot, the wholesale price has dipped to "much less than $2,000," according to the story. Right now, PriceOfWeed.com values an ounce of high-quality marijuana in California at $354.08 per ounce based on 448 submissions from the crowd.
At 16 ounces per pound, that means growers need to go directly to the consumers selling one ounce of high-grade pot at a time to get $5,000 out of a pound.
If medical pot has driven down the amount growers get selling their pot in large quantities, then outright legalization should further drive down the cost, as Montgomery's article suggests.
With Proposition 19 on the November ballot, voters have the chance to approve the legalization and regulation of marijuana in the state. The Los Angeles Times Data Desk has posted online the political donations supporting and opposing Prop. 19.
My favorite donor is Granny Greenleaf, but there's some serious money coming from a North Carolina donor and S.K. Seymour LLC, which does business as Oaksterdam University.