(For a graphic on state marijuana laws and price differences, see: tmsnrt.rs/2AFalvZ )
Davies, a farmer in Humboldt County, California – a region renowned for its premium cannabis – said growers have historically done and still do handshake deals with counterparts vouched for by shared acquaintances. Davies sells directly to dispensaries, essentially relying on the rumor mill to set prices.
“There isn’t something where I can sell long or short,” he said.
The data show variations in demand for various brand among regions. For example, Blue Dream has reigned as the most popular strain for flower in Colorado and Washington since 2014. But in Oregon, tokers favor a strain known as GG – formerly “Gorilla Glue,” until its purveyors got sued by the makers of the actual glue by the same name.
(This version of the story is refiled to fix typo in the first paragraph.)
Started three years ago, New Leaf now publishes weekly benchmark spot prices and forecasts on wholesale indoor-, outdoor-, and greenhouse-grown marijuana for 17 regions with legalization laws.
Still, the metrics are imperfect. State regulators increasingly perform quality tests to ensure safety, but no one checks to make sure that what someone is selling as “Green Crack” really matches weed branded under the same name elsewhere.
Joseph Hopkins, co-owner of a dispensary called The Greener Side in Eugene, Oregon, uses the data to deal with suppliers.
In California, regulated market prices are more than $1,000 per lb, whereas prices for illegal weed can be as low as $500 per lb, estimated Scott Davies, a California cultivator. Legal market marijuana tends to be more expensive because supplies are more restricted and because it is taxed.
In 2014, as Jonathan Rubin and Ian Laird considered investing in the booming U.S. cannabis industry, they hit a problem: How to value pot start-ups with little verified data on the price of the weed itself?