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In this article, we are going to discuss the 20 cities with the most expensive weed in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global cannabis industry, the reasons for high prices of weed in some legalized states, and the current state of the cannabis black market, and go directly to 5 Cities with the Most Expensive Weed in the World.
Across the Atlantic, Canada, Uruguay, and dozens of U.S. states have already changed their laws in the past decade to allow people to light up. Far more countries – around 30 – have legalized the drug for medicinal use, including most members of the European Union.
Germany is the latest country to approve a plan to liberalize rules on cannabis, setting the scene for E.U.’s most populous nation to decriminalize possession of limited amounts and allow members of ‘cannabis clubs’ to buy the substance for recreational use.
Global Cannabis Industry:
As we mentioned in our article – 20 Cities with the Cheapest Weed in the World – the global cannabis market was valued at $47.32 billion in 2022. It is projected to grow from $57.18 billion in 2023 to $444.34 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 34% during the forecast period.
North America dominates the market and is projected to be the fastest growing region. Marijuana legalization is gaining momentum around the globe, driven primarily by the increasing recognition that the product may have a range of legitimate medicinal benefits and therapeutic applications. It is the most widely cultivated, trafficked, and consumed drug worldwide.
Reasons for High Prices of Weed in Some Legalized States:
Even though a growing number of states have legalized recreational cannabis in the United States, prices of the herb can vary greatly from one state to another. Every state has different laws, regulations, and most importantly, market demands. And because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, it’s not as simple as bringing supply from, say, California into New York. Every state is essentially its own island. No product can go across state lines and the cannabis industry gets to exist in these regulatory bubbles that stop at the state border.
Although the prices of weed have plummeted to their lowest ever in states that have had legalized weed for a while, these lower prices haven’t hit the east coast yet. States like New York and New Jersey have higher prices of legalized weed not only because of the high taxes, but also simply due to the huge difference between supply and demand. Since these two states are still relatively new to legalized weed, supply is at a minimum while demand is booming.
There are only 13 cannabis cultivators currently in operation in the Garden State, and only 10 are authorized to grow cannabis for the adult-use market. There’s also a lack of competition as only 10 companies own the 24 adult-use dispensaries. Until more businesses set up shop in these states, the prices are unlikely to drop.
It’s not just the smaller businesses that are selling expensive weed, but the multi-state operators adjust their pricing according to market trends as well. Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CURLF) is a leading company that produces and distributes cannabis products across 23 states in America. The cheapest eighth-ounce at one of Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CURLF)’s three dispensaries in New Jersey costs $50 before taxes. In Connecticut, it’s $36, while it costs $20 in Nevada and Arizona. Earlier this year, Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CURLF) announced the closure of the majority of its operations in California, Colorado, and Oregon, because these markets have already reached maturity and thus have very low prices and very high competition.
The high tax rates on cannabis in New York are also to blame for the expensive ganja there. Adult-use cannabis in the Empire State is subject to a 13% retail tax plus a THC potency tax – a tax on the milligrams of THC in a product. This can cause the effective tax rates to actually range from about 32% to 41%, depending on which product you buy. This is why the Cannabis Association of New York is insisting on abolishing the THC potency tax and instead replacing it with a flat 20% retail tax rate.
State of the Cannabis Black Market:
In countries where recreational cannabis is still illegal, the black market steps in to fill the void. According to a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs, the cannabis black market in the U.K. is worth around $3.3 billion, with 255 tonnes of product sold to about 3 million consumers every year. The report concludes that if marijuana were legalized in the country, the tax revenues alone, before considering savings to public services, could exceed $1.27 billion a year.
Also across the United States, thriving, unregulated cannabis businesses are threatening to undercut legal markets awaiting banking and tax reform. A report by Whitney Economics has revealed that around 75% of the U.S. cannabis market is illicit sales. The black market doesn’t have to pay taxes and it isn’t limited by state lines, two huge headaches for legalized businesses.
New York is particularly enticing for the illegal cannabis business. That’s partly due to the problematic rollout of legal adult-use cannabis, with critics saying excessive regulations and a complicated licensing process have stymied legitimate efforts. According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the number of illegal dispensaries in the Big Apple alone is estimated to be around 1,500.
But let’s not forget that the black market is often awash with high-strength, hazardous products and can pose a serious risk to consumer health, as well as the health of the legal cannabis industry.
With that said, here are the Cities with the Highest Prices of Weed in the World.
To collect data for this article, we have referred to the 2023 Cannabis Price Index by the CFAH, looking for the Cities with the Most Expensive Weed in the World. To keep our list relevant, we have only selected larger cities with populations of 200,000 or more. When two cities had the same price of weed, we ranked them by their annual cannabis consumption instead.
If you also wish to invest in the cannabis industry, here are the 11 Best Marijuana Stocks to Buy Now.
20. Rome, Italy
Price of Weed per Gram: $12.2
At present, cannabis is legal in Italy for medical and industrial uses – although it is strictly regulated – while it is decriminalized for recreational use. Most of the medical marijuana available in Italian pharmacies is imported from the Netherlands at a high markup, thus increasing prices.
Rome ranks among the Cities with the Highest Weed Consumption in the World.
19. Munich, Germany
Price of Weed per Gram: $12.5
Adults in Germany will be able to grow and consume recreational cannabis privately or through non-profit members’ clubs by the end of the year, scaling back previous government plans to make the drug distributable in shops or pharmacies nationwide. But until these new regulations come into effect, Germany’s weed prices are among the highest in the world.
18. Athens, Greece
Price of Weed per Gram: $12.5
Medical marijuana has been legal in Greece since 2017, but recreational use remains prohibited. The industry was legalized to provide an economic boost to the country from medical marijuana exports. A lot of cannabis flows through the Greek-Albanian border.
17. New York, NY, USA
Price of Weed per Gram: $12.5
A high rate of THC potency tax is a major reason for weed being expensive in the Empire State, compared to other parts of the country. New York City is home to a number of high profile cannabis businesses since its legalization last year. One of those companies is Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY), which has recently made headlines after its $56 million acquisition of Hexo. While originally a Canadian company, Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) has been positioning itself to be a leader in the U.S. adult-use cannabis market. With a revenue of $627.1 million last year, Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) ranks among the Biggest Marijuana Companies in the World.
16. Vilnius, Lithuania
Price of Weed per Gram: $13
Cannabis is currently the most popular drug in Lithuania, with an estimated 10.8% of the population between 15-64 having used it at least once in their lifetime. Weed is legal in Lithuania but the program is restricted to medical use only.
15. Bucharest, Romania
Price of Weed per Gram: $14
Although the medical use of cannabis is legalized in Romania, it has not been eliminated from the Table I of High Risk Drugs, and as such its use is prohibited.
Bucharest ranks 15th in our List of Cities with the Most Expensive Weed.
14. Manila, Philippines
Price of Weed per Gram: $14.8
Philippines drug laws are among the harshest in the world, with death penalties for possessing even a small amount of cannabis. The high-risk factor is a major cause for the increased prices of the drug in the country.
13. Santiago, Chile
Price of Weed per Gram: $14.8
Chile is among the countries with the highest level of marijuana use in Latin America and has experienced consistent increases over the last two decades. Cannabis cultivation seems to be taking off in the South American country, despite its illegality. With more care given to cultivation and high-class genetics, Chilean consumers expect good quality from their weed.
12. Riga, Latvia
Price of Weed per Gram: $15.6
Cannabis is not legal in Latvia, but the country’s administrative fine for small possession amounts means consumption is not uncommon. However, good quality ganja is pretty expensive in the country and people usually just settle with smoking hash.
The Latvian capital ranks among Cities with the Most Expensive Weed Prices in the World.
11. Swindon, United Kingdom
Price of Weed per Gram: $16.2
Kush is so expensive in the U.K. because the demand is there and people are willing to pay for it. Under current drug laws, no alternative exists to stabilize the market. The only thing people can do to lower the cost is to grow their own cannabis and face the fear of prosecution if caught. An estimated 3 million people in the country consume cannabis regularly.
10. Üsküdar, Turkey
Price of Weed per Gram: $16.3
Cannabis in Turkey is illegal for recreational use, but allowed for limited medical and scientific purposes. Illegal cannabis is fairly potent in Turkey and herbal cannabis THC levels can be as high as 27.34%, while resin (hash) can be as high as 25.21%.
9. Seattle, WA, USA
Price of Weed per Gram: $18.2
In Washington, which has some of the highest cannabis tax rates in the country, the prices consumers pay in dispensaries are still surprisingly cheaper than illicit weed. The state is raking in half a billion dollars a year in taxes, which is devoted to healthcare and government operations.
Seattle ranks among the top 10 cities with high weed prices.
8. Washington D.C., USA
Price of Weed per Gram: $19.1
Washington D.C. is the city with the most expensive weed in America. Marijuana is so expensive in the capital due to the limited supply and the inability of the city to establish a legal recreational cannabis market because of federal jurisdiction.
7. Helsinki, Finland
Price of Weed per Gram: $19.7
Because marijuana is less common in Finland than other countries in the E.U., the price of weed tends to skew higher. Home cultivation is considerably cheaper, which may explain why more people in Finland are risking prosecution to grow it privately.
6. Moscow, Russia
Price of Weed per Gram: $20
All cannabis products are illegal in Russia, regardless of how much THC they contain. Marc Fogel, an American school teacher, was arrested while entering Russia with 0.6 ounces of medical marijuana. In June 2022, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Moscow ranks sixth in our list of Cities with the Highest Prices of Weed.
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