Price War Heats Up Between Legal Marijuana and the Black Market (TIME)

By JACOB DAVIDSON | July 8, 2014

Brian Cahn—ZUMA Press

Brian Cahn—ZUMA Press

Recreational marijuana went on sale legally for the first time in Washington state Tuesday, and early reports indicate it’s not cheap to be an early adopter.

The New York Times reports that a combination of tough regulations, financing troubles, meticulous inspectors, and tight land-use laws have severely slowed the rollout of recreational marijuana dispensaries. Of the 334 vendor licensees authorized for the first wave of stores, only about 20 have actually been granted.

A shortage of stores meeting an avalanche of new demand adds up to high prices for the state’s first recreational pot consumers. According to the Times, an ounce is expected to sell for at least $400. Based on numbers from, a site that crowdsources national marijuana prices, that’s over twice as much as Washington’s black market consumers pay for an ounce of average quality pot.

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