The price of pot in Colorado – wholesale edition

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JIM MAKOS via FLICKR

Ever wonder what the pot you just bought went for wholesale? The Colorado Department of Revenue is out with the latest prices.

As of April 1, 2019, the average market rate (AMR) for a pound of Colorado bud (or if you prefer, flower) came to $806, or $50.38 cents an ounce.

The AMR is the statewide average price of what growers are charging for a pound of marijuana. The Department of Revenue calculates it quarterly because the State of Colorado levies a 15-percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales. You don’t see the excise tax on your dispensary receipt, since it’s paid by the grower and not the retailer. The excise tax is rolled into the price of the pot sold at the dispensary level.

The taxes that do appear on your dispensary receipt include 1) the 15-percent state retail marijuana sales tax, and 2) the regular 2.9-percent state sales tax, and 3) any city, county, and special district taxes that may apply.

The first time the Colorado ganja revenuers posted an AMR figure for wholesale marijuana was on Jan. 1, 2014, the month that the state’s first recreational dispensaries opened for business.

The wholesale AMR came in at (sharp inhaling of breath here) $1,876 a pound, or $117.25 an ounce. We’ve come a long way since then.

Still, the $806-per-pound April 1 wholesale price represents a $25-per-pound increase from the $781-per-pound price on Jan. 1 of this year, and a $47-per-pound jump from the $759-per-pound Oct. 1, 2018 AMR. The latter was the record low.

The record high AMR was $2,007 per pound on Jan. 1, 2015.

The Department of Revenue calculates AMR for several categories of wholesale cannabis besides smokable buds. The most recent AMR for trim, for example, was $425 per pound. Buds earmarked for extraction fetched $227 per pound, while trim destined for extraction came in at $177 per pound.

The taxman’s reach also extended to single immature pot plants, which currently have a $4 AMR and to whole wet plants that have a $151 AMR. The average wholesale price of a single seed is pegged at $5.

When you take a dispensary’s operating costs, taxes and profit into account, those plus-or-minus-$100 ounces offered by a lot of local dispensaries are a pretty incredible bargain.

Life is good in Colorado.

     

Last year, Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner got a lot of attention when he joined with Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to sponsor a bill that would exempt states that had legalized recreational or medical marijuana from the anti-cannabis provisions of the Controlled Substances Act.

The bill, dubbed the STATES Act (for Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States) died at the end of the last session of Congress.

Now it’s Colorado Representative Diana DeGette’s turn. According to the Marijuana Moment website, DeGette, who represents Denver, has filed a bill in the House to do the same thing as the Gardner/Warren bill.

Like the Gardner/Warren bill, DeGette’s bill, titled the Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act, would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exempt states with legal marijuana from federal meddling.

“I just introduced legislation to block the federal government from enforcing its anti-marijuana laws in states where it’s legal,” Degette tweeted after filing the bill. “Colorado’s marijuana-related businesses contribute more than $1 billion a year to our state’s economy. They shouldn’t be treated like criminals.”

DeGette’s bill has a good chance of making it to a vote on the House floor. That’s because the new Chairman of the House Rules Committee is Rep. Jim McGovern, a pro-legalization Democrat from Massachusetts.

The previous chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, was a marijuana prohibitionist dead-ender, who blocked virtually all marijuana reform legislation from reaching the floor. Happily, Sessions was brusquely returned to civilian life last November in a re-election campaign in which legalization figured prominently.

McGovern said he expected both the Rules Committee and the full House would be taking up DeGette’s plan in a matter of weeks “and I think we will have a very strong vote.”