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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Retail cannabis prices in California through legalization, regulation and taxation


Traditional sources of retail price information, such as scanner data and government price surveys, are not available for cannabis. To help fill this gap, between October 2016 and July 2018 the UC Agricultural Issues Center collected online retail price ranges for dried cannabis flower and cannabis-oil cartridges at retailers around California. During this 21-month time period, the legal landscape of the California cannabis market underwent three broad regulatory changes: adult-use decriminalization, licensing and regulation and mandatory testing. This article provides unique primary data on legal cannabis prices in California before and after each of these three changes. Our data are imperfect but do provide a glimpse of the patterns of California cannabis prices at different times. For dried cannabis flower, we observe relatively stable retail prices over the 21-month period at both the top and bottom ends of the price range. For cannabis-oil cartridges, we observe relatively stable prices at the bottom end but increasing prices at the top end between November 2017 and July 2018.

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