When Washington State’s legal weed market opened last summer, a lot of customers ended up seeing a shortage of herb. Some pot shops even had to close during times of short supply. Short supplies also meant prices were very inflated.
Fast forward six months and now Washington is seeing the situation has completely reversed.
Pot stores were flooded with a big crop of sun-grown ganja from the eastern part of the state last fall. Customers in the pot stores are seeing prices come down to a much more reasonable level. But for growers the situation is a little grimmer. They are actually having a hard time selling their product. Some farmers are actually worried about having to shut down their operations, realizing that it might be harder than they thought to make a living with legal pot.
“It’s an economic nightmare,” says Andrew Seitz, general manager at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle.
Data reported to the state shows that licensed pot growers have harvested 31,000 pounds of pot as of Thursday this week. But legal pot shops in the state have sold less than one-fifth of that 31,000 pounds. The state is realizing that a majority of cannabis connoisseurs in the state are staying with untaxed, black market marijuana or less taxed product from unregulated medical dispensaries. Where ever people are getting there pot, means it’s not moving off of the shelves of legal pot stores very fast.
“Every grower I know has got surplus inventory and they’re concerned about it,” said Scott Masengill, who has sold half of the 280 pounds he harvested from his pot farm in central Washington. “I don’t know anybody getting rich.”
Officials at the state Liquor Control Board, which is the regulatory board for legal marijuana, doesn’t seem to be losing any sleep over the situation.
To date there are about 270-licensed ganja growers in the state of Washington, with only 85 stores for them sell product to. Part of that discrepancy comes from the slow, painstaking licensing process retail applicants must go through. Pot bans in many cities and counties also add to the situation.
Legal pot project manager for the state Liquor Control Board, Randy Simmons is hopeful that 100 more stores will open in the next few months, which would provide more outlets for all the weed being harvested. Officials in the state expect to see an excess of marijuana each fall after the outdoor crops are harvested, as outdoor growers usually just harvest one big crop to sell throughout the year.
Pot shop prices are still about twice what they are medical dispensaries, but are actually a bit cheaper than a few months ago.
“It’s the volatility of a new marketplace,” Simmons said, he wouldn’t be surprised to see pot prices keep fluctuating over the next year or so.
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