Cannabis is an effective medicine that many suffering patients can benefit from using.
It is also a plant that can provide a great sense of relaxation and wellness for people that may not be suffering from a serious health condition.
Because the cannabis plant is so useful, it should be safely and legally available to patients and adults across the nation, and around the world.
Fortunately that is increasingly becoming the case as more states and countries reform outdated, harmful cannabis laws.
But increasing safe access is just one part of the equation. Another very important part of the equation is ensuring that cannabis is affordable.
If cannabis is too expensive, it pushes consumers and patients to the unregulated market, or even worse, forces people that need cannabis to go without it.
Various factors affect the price of cannabis, and some of those factors are more fluid and evolving constantly — and are sure to drive down cannabis prices as time goes by.
#1) Modernization and innovation
Many people are under the false impression that cannabis is as easy to grow as a weed they find in their lawn or garden. That couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to quality cannabis.
Cultivating world-class cannabis takes a tremendous amount of care and attention, and currently, requires a lot of effort to get a crop grown, harvested, and prepared for market.
All of those costs add to the end price of cannabis flower or a processed cannabis product. As with just about every industry, the cannabis industry is going to become more automated in the future.
A good example of that is going to occur in Colorado where an old Pepsi plant is being converted into a cannabis cultivation facility, and is going to incorporate a lot of automation. Per Business Insider:
Doyen Elements also plans to team up with a robotics company in order to bring in robots capable of uprooting marijuana clones — or plant cuttings used for cannabis breeding — and sending them on a conveyor belt to their destination. The work is ripe for automation.
Automation is going to drive down cultivation costs, and hopefully with it, the cost of cannabis to consumers.
#2) Increased competition
In virtually every state that has rolled out legal adult-use cannabis sales, supply has not met demand, and prices were high (no pun intended).
But with time the prices went down as more supply hit the market, and more retail outlets were approved and opened for business.
A great example of that is in Washington State. On opening day of cannabis sales in July of 2014, reported prices were as high as $25 per gram.
Since that time prices have been reduced to less than half the price as more stores opened up and more harvests made it into the market place.
Where I live, in Oregon, regulated cannabis can go for as cheap as $3.75 per gram, and could get even cheaper in the future.
#3) More reasonable regulations
In many cases the biggest cost hidden in the final prices of a cannabis purchase is the cost of compliance.
The cannabis industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries on the planet. Each layer of regulation drives up the cost to the end consumer.
Regulators are learning as they go because, after all, there is no guidebook to implementing legal adult-use cannabis sales.
No current cannabis law and/or regulation is off limits when it comes to changes. As time goes by and regulators determine what works and what doesn’t, regulations will become less burdensome, and the cost of doing business will be cheaper for cannabis producers and retailers.
But that is not automatic. It will be up to the industry and consumers to demand reasonable regulatory changes as they are identified over time.
#4) The continued rise in popularity of sungrown
It is no secret that cannabis grown outdoors is cheaper than cannabis grown indoors. A lot of money goes into growing cannabis indoors, with the money being spent on things that are not necessary when growing outdoors.
The most obvious expense that is only required indoors is lighting. The sun provides all of the light that a plant needs for free, whereas indoors all of the light has to be produced artificially.
Another major expense indoors is the cost of temperature regulation. Air conditioning and heating adds up quick. When cannabis is grown in a good climate during outdoor season, there is no need for temperature regulation.
As consumers continue to be educated on the benefits of sungrown cannabis, of which there are many, the supply will pick up to meet the demand, which will result in cheaper deals for consumers.
#5) Rise of living soil cultivation practices
When cannabis is grown completely organically via a method commonly referred to as ‘living soil’ the cost of cultivation can go down dramatically.
The concept of living soil cultivation techniques is not new, but it is definitely becoming more widespread as the cannabis industry continues to mature.
Also referred to as ‘no till’ cultivation, growers harness the goodness of the earth to create a living ecosystem in their soil which allows multiple generations of plants.
Compare that to methods that revolve around using synthetic salts and other non-organic fertilizers that are not only less desirable to consumers these days, they are also more expensive.
As the living soil movement continues to become more popular, more growers will adopt it. That will drive down the cost of cultivation and be better for the earth, in addition to lowering prices for consumers.