Marijuana prices show signs of leveling out
ARE POT PRICES in Massachusetts finally dropping?
Since Massachusetts allowed the first legal marijuana sales in November 2018, prices for legal cannabis have remained high. High prices are one factor cannabis consumers have cited in explaining why they continued to buy illegally, from friends or dealers.
But data from the state Cannabis Control Commission suggest that as the industry matures, prices are going down. A chart on the CCC’s public data website shows that when the legal industry first launched in 2018, the monthly average cost for an ounce of adult-use cannabis was around $390 — a figure that topped $400 in early 2019. But since then, the price of legal cannabis has been steadily declining. It had gotten down to $370 or $380 an ounce pre-pandemic. Since 2020, prices have continued to drop, hitting a monthly average price of $362 an ounce in September 2021.
Kamani Jefferson, an adviser and board member of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council, said it is not surprising that prices are leveling out as the market matures. “There are more dispensaries and more growers, so the supply starts to get to the level of demand,” Jefferson said.
That said, Massachusetts continues to have higher prices than other states, particularly western states like Colorado, California, Oregon, or Nevada.
Borghesani said part of the reason is Massachusetts remains a relatively young market, and it is surrounded by states that don’t yet allow legal sales. As other nearby states – like Vermont, Maine, and New York – start allowing legal shops, the price is likely to drop further, since some of the demand today comes from out-of-state consumers buying marijuana in Massachusetts. (Legally, a consumer is not allowed to transport marijuana across state lines.)
Jefferson said the licensing structure in Massachusetts has also driven prices up, since various compliance and security requirements make it expensive to get a license. (MassLive previously reported on the phenomenon of Massachusetts medical marijuana patients driving to Maine to buy significantly cheaper marijuana, since Maine has far looser regulations governing the growing and sale of medical marijuana.) The CCC has also taken a long time to approve enough licenses to get the industry fully up and running, and some communities have been hesitant to approve host community agreements, which led to limited supply in many areas of the state.
Jefferson said now that there is more competition, that is likely to also drive prices down, since a consumer can compare prices at nearby dispensaries and pick the cheapest one.
Another delay: The MBTA is once again delaying the initial opening of the Green Line extension into Somerville, this time because cramped quarters in a newly built electric substation are making it difficult to get enough workers inside to finish the job on time. In June, the T put off opening the Union Square branch until the end of December and the Medford branch until May. T General Manager Steve Poftak said it’s still possible the Medford branch could open in May, but it has two of the substations on it. Read more.
— The old board set it up so the new board would get briefed and be able to launch a pilot of means-tested fares this month, but that’s not going to happen for some time. The first meeting next week will focus on housekeeping matters, and Poftak said no date has been set yet for the means-tested fares decision. Read more.
Vaccines for kids: State officials prep for a November vaccine rollout to kids ages 5 to 12. They plan to have 300,000 doses, enough for 70 percent of the state’s children. Read more.
Testing on track: State officials say COVID-19 testing delays at schools are becoming far less frequent, thanks largely to the hiring of 800 people to help out. The officials say demand from schools was far greater than expected. Read more.
Hospital stepping up, and out: Douglas Brown of UMass Memorial says the hospital’s “anchor mission” extends beyond the hospital into the community to deal with the social determinants of health. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The House approved new district lines that enhance the clout of minority voters in elections for state representative. (Boston Herald)
The state Senate passes a bill to require genocide education in middle and high school. (MassLive) The Senate also passed a bill to make it easier for spouses and children of military members who relocate to Massachusetts, by making it easier for spouses to meet professional licensing requirements, and for children to obtain in-state tuition. (MassLive)
Easthampton becomes the fourth municipality in Massachusetts to decriminalize the possession and use of psychedelic plants. Somerville, Cambridge, and Northampton are the others. (WBUR)
The latest COVID-19 numbers indicate that cases are slowly decreasing in Massachusetts. (MassLive)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approves the use of boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but some health experts wonder whether they really are necessary. (New York Times)
A new study explains why this summer’s COVID outbreak in Provincetown did not become a “super-spreader” event. (Boston Globe)
The House voted to hold in contempt former Trump advisor Steve Bannon for not complying with a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. (Washington Post)
Globe columnist Scot Lehigh says the state Republican Party has become a clown show under chairman Jim Lyons. (Boston Globe)
New jobless claims continued to decline last week, as the labor market rebounds. (Eagle-Tribune)
Supply chain disruptions of all sorts hit Worcester area businesses. (Telegram & Gazette)
Amazon opens a 350,000-square-foot robotics manufacturing plant in Westborough. (MassLive)
Despite efforts by dozens of supporters of Worcester School Superintendent Maureen Binienda, the school committee rejects a proposal to keep her on for another year. (Telegram & Gazette)
Nearly 100 staff members at Middlesex School, a pricey private high school in Concord, signed a letter denouncing the school’s decision to revoke a speaking invitation to New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. (Boston Globe)
Battery-assisted e-bikes are becoming more and more popular, but sit in a legal gray zone when it comes to categorizing them and setting rules for their riders. (Boston Globe)
The State Police add 168 troopers to their ranks with a new graduating class from the training academy. (Telegram & Gazette)MEDIA
Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr accuses the media of downplaying the fact that prominent Black activist Monica Cannon-Grant, named a “Bostonian of the Year” by the Boston Globe in 2020, is the wife of Clark Grant, who was arrested earlier this week on federal mortgage and pandemic-relief fraud charges involving the nonprofit Cannon-Grant runs and for which he serves as a director.