How much should an ounce of weed cost in California?
We break down the basics behind the price of an ounce of weed and share how much you should be paying depending on the quality of buds.
It’s feast or famine in the California cannabis market these days. If you’re a Golden State cannabis consumer, you’ve seen prices all across the map the past several years. Some of these are big-picture changes, from the giant bubble last summer to the easy-breezy prices of 2021. But there can be a wild price disparity among growers, strains, and brands. So how do you know if you’re getting a fair deal, an inflated price, or if you’re paying for something a little too good to be true?
The reality is: There isn’t just one answer to this question.
Multiple factors go into the price of an ounce of weed: How was it grown? When was it harvested? What kind of care went into the finished product?
Here’s what to look for when shopping for your fresh buds. The cost of a quality ounce may be lower than you think!
Supply and demand
It’s the most basic economic principle: Lower supply and higher demand lead to higher prices, while higher supply and lower demand tank them. After a couple of lean summers, the 2021 harvest absolutely flooded the market and drove prices down as farmers struggled to sell their flower.
California’s 2021 harvest flooded the market and drove prices down as farmers struggled to sell their flower.
Obviously, Californians are always going to want some great weed. But another factor goes into demand: The number of shelves available to stock that product. There are more than 7,000 licensed cannabis farms in the state. Largely because of local restrictions, only 1,130 licensed retail stores and delivery companies are able to sell that product.
With the market wildly unstable, prices can be unpredictable as growers struggle to make margins. But there are plenty of other forces at work.
Indoor and outdoor
Higher prices don’t always add up to higher quality. Somewhat counterintuitively, indoor herb often sells at higher prices than sun-grown cannabis. And while indoor growing can produce excellent cannabis, some of the reasons behind the pricing difference are almost entirely superficial—especially when some large-scale, mass-produced cultivators are going for stuff that flies off the shelves based on first impressions.
It’s become a popular practice to optimize for high THC count and photogenic buds, flashy pros that grab consumers’ attention but aren’t always indicative of the superior genetics and careful grow practices that produce great weed.
Indoor crops typically use 33 times more energy than outdoor farms, which is costly to both the cultivator and the planet.
Indoor crops also typically use 33 times more energy than outdoor farms, which is costly to both the cultivator and the planet. That means some players inflate the price of indoor-grown weed to offset the greater cost it takes to produce. So when you see that higher price for indoor bud, you have to ask yourself—are you paying for top-quality or to keep the lights on?
The reality is that outdoor, small-batch, craft growers can produce high-quality cannabis from the best genetics and deliver a full-plant consumption experience. While their crops still boast plenty of THC and CBD, craft growers tend to deliver higher levels of terpenes and minor cannabinoids, too. Sun-grown cannabis can produce an optimal consumption experience, without jacked-up prices and while giving you the added benefit of a product that’s gentler on the environment to produce.
Pricing good vs. top-shelf cannabis
Once you get past outside factors like supply and big-business marketing, you get a clearer picture of how the quality of the cannabis affects its sale price. When you’re buying from an honest, small-batch, craft cultivator, you’re always going to get great weed—but unlike those mass-produced buds, when you pay more, you get more.
Flow Cannabis Co. sources from only small-batch, independent farmers in Northern California, helping them gain market scale together. This community offers plenty of good, affordable options alongside top-shelf offerings. Here’s how that looks in practice.
$99 an ounce: Sungrown Cannabis. Flow Direct is the home of the $99 ounce, where you can get quality sun-grown flower delivered for free, offering a great high for people on a budget.
$240 an ounce: Flow Kana Gold. These ounces include some of the best strains the NorCal grower community has to offer, with high-tier genetics, robust aromas, and potent, well-rounded highs.
$320 an ounce: Farmer’s Reserve Collection. This selection of ultra premium-quality bud is sold as $40 eighth-ounces. These special releases are the highest-graded, small-batch flower in the region, with a terpenoid content of at least twice the industry average for a full-bodied taste and the best possible experience.
Now that you know what factors help determine the prices you see online and at the dispensary, you can pick up your next ounce with your eyes wide open for the bud that’s truly the best bang for your buck.
There’s a choice out there that’s easier on your pockets and better for the plant. Find the fair price that’s right for you when you shop flower from Flow Direct. Stop by the home of the $99 ounce and see what strains are fresh on the shelves.