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Medical Marijuana Drives Down Prices in California

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Wholesale marijuana prices in California have fallen from about $5,000 per pound in the Reagan era to less than $2,000 per pound today due in part to increased competition spurred by the state's medical-marijuana laws, NPR reported May 15.

“Outdoor growers are having a hard time unloading their fall harvest,” said Charley Custer, a community activist in Humboldt County, a hotbed of marijuana cultivation in California. “And this is six months later and when some people do move it, they don't get nearly the price they were hoping for.”

Local police confirm that growers are having a hard time selling their processed marijuana. The popularity (and potency) of indoor-grown marijuana also is helping drive down the price of lower-quality, outdoor-grown pot.

“What's happening is the people that don't have quality product aren't selling it,” said Tim Blake, who organizes the annual Emerald Cup competition to honor the best marijuana grown in California. “So they're the ones that are creating this panic. So it really comes back down to that, just like in every other agricultural industry. When you get too many vineyards and too many people growing vines out there, then only the good ones make it.”

Market economics could weed out the less-competitive producers, observers said.

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