While some states have experienced growing pains when it comes to cannabis cultivation and meeting market demand, Colorado’s wholesale flower prices remain strong as competition heats up. Colorado’s developing market has been able to adapt to fluctuating flower prices, outside investment, a surplus of cannabis flower, and a market that is slowly stabilizing.
Outside Investment In Colorado
Growers believe the uptick in wholesale flower prices is largely influenced by the decision of Colorado lawmakers to approve a cannabis bill that allowed outside investors and capital into the state’s $1.5 billion-a-year industry. A year before, Gov. John Hickenlooper rejected a similar proposal.
As Colorado opened the door to publicly held companies and large venture funds, a consolidation trend has helped larger companies buy out smaller retailers, manufacturers, and growers. Consolidation helped drive up wholesale cannabis prices, while vertically integrated businesses stabilized supplies.
Joshua Haupt, chief cultivation officer for Denver-based vertically integrated operator Medicine Man Technologies told Marijuana Business Daily, “It’s looking like it finally stabilized.” Medicine Man was able to close two acquisitions on MedPharm Holdings and Medicine Man Denver after the bill was passed.
Colorado’s Wholesale Flower Prices
Currently, Colorado’s indoor wholesale flower is selling for $1,200 to $1,400 on average compared to last year’s rate of $1,100. Greenhouse-grown wholesale flower is going for $800 to $900, experiencing no significant change in price from last year. Outdoor wholesale flower is selling for $600 to $700 compared to last year’s rate of $450.
Colorado, like many other recreational states like it, has experienced an unpredictable demand with wildly varying wholesale prices. Colorado’s wholesale flower prices had a strong showing at the beginning of the market rollout, but sales eventually hit bottom when production increased and created a surplus in the market.
Wholesale Flower Price Stability
When wholesale flower prices hit a record low in 2018, smaller operators had to shut down their business due to the extreme financial burden. The void in the market gave larger and more financially steady operators the opportunity to fill in the market demand and stabilize cannabis flower prices.
In late 2017 and into 2018, flower prices were worrisome for cultivators. Haupt, cultivation officer for Medicine Man, said top-shelf wholesale flower sold for only $600 a pound. He estimates about 500 growers got out of the cannabis industry. After they left, prices increased up to $1,100 to $1,200 a pound before reaching a high of $2,000 a pound in September 2019.
A spate of acquisitions in Colorado also gave vertically integrated businesses a leg up in adapting to market variations. When supply and demand fluctuated, the strong relationship between growers and retailers helped offset most inconveniences in price fluctuation.
Colorado’s flower price variations are also influenced by seasons. During the summer, Colorado experiences an uptick in tourism with tourists willing to spend money on cannabis flower. During the winter, harvest improves flower supply and prices begin to fall, but climb up again in April.
Colorado Retailers Stock Up
Colorado’s recent rise and stability in wholesale flower prices signal a healthy market. Dispensaries have been able to keep their stores stocked with premium outdoor, indoor, and greenhouse weed, but stores have also seen an increase in concentrate and vape pen sales compared to flower sales.
John Cusack, president of Denver-based cannabis retailer Colorado Harvest Company, told Marijuana Business Daily that in one of his three shops, concentrates sell more than flower, even amidst the vaping health crisis. There was not considerable revenue dropoff due to the increased number of vaping-related illnesses.
Wholesale Marijuana Prices In Mature Recreational States
Colorado and other mature recreational states such as Washington, Oregon, and California have experienced the nagging issue of oversupply and wholesale flower price fluctuations, but are now seeing a reversal in wholesale marijuana prices.
In Oregon, cannabis growers are seeing improving wholesale flower prices with high-quality indoor weed going for $2,400 a pound compared to last year’s rate of $1,800 a pound. Outdoor weed is going for $800 a pound (up from $300 in 2019).
Washington has also experienced a rise in cannabis flower prices. Wholesale flower prices for premium indoor pot have remained steady at an average between $1,400 to $1,800 a pound. Mid-quality flower can go for $800 a pound (up from $700 last year).
California is another state that’s has experienced a more stable flower market. While indoor prices remain steady from last year’s average price between $1,800 to $2,200 a pound, greenhouse prices are up 30 percent from last year at $1,150 to $1,300 a pound. Outdoor wholesale flower prices have remained stable since last year at $900 to $1,100 a pound.
Colorado’s cannabis manufacturers, retailers, and growers are running more efficient and profitable businesses as they gain more experience handling the industry’s challenges. As a result Colorado wholesale flower prices remain strong as competition heats up. Colorado’s marijuana businesses are facing some unique issues, but largely, becoming an example of the future that awaits the cannabis industry. Recreational states are finding new and creative ways to keep cannabis flower demand robust without oversupplying retailers.