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Cheap Weed: Affordable Access Remains Limited for NJ Cannabis Consumers

Adult use cannabis prices remain high for NJ cannabis consumers across the state, limiting access to the legal market.

Based on most menu cannabis prices at New Jersey adult-use dispensaries, you’d think everyone in New Jersey was a solid multi-millionaire. New Jersey cannabis consumers have limited affordable options for cannabis.

Anyone willing to shell out $500, $600, or even more for one ounce of dried flowers is truly living baller status.

When you walk out with that $80 1/8th, your date is definitely impressed.

Champagne is flowing, and alleged caviar is out on platters, but where’s the menu for the rest of us?

Where’s the burger and the chicken sandwich?

Good news: There are a couple of affordable options appearing in NJ.

As a consumer rights activist, I’ve tracked dispensary cannabis prices every two weeks since the first sales began.

Here’s a look at the lowest prices on more than sixty adult-use menus on January 22, 2024. Take a look at a snippet here:

NJ Cannabis Price Takeaways

The three most affordable ounces I could find this week:

  • $149.25 for 1oz of in-house flower at MPX in Atlantic City.
  • $156 for 1oz of in-house ground flower at Brute’s Roots in Egg Harbor Township.
  • $180 for 1 oz of Ascend shake at Hashery in Hackensack.

Prices only go up from there. The majority of menus are filled with corporate-grown 1/8ths for $60-$75 each. Ouch.

These are astronomical prices compared to the rest of the country or the Mid-Atlantic region.

Even after loyalty points, wearing a game-day jersey, and stacked discounts, the regulated weed in our Garden State remains way more expensive than any underground legacy dealer.

NJ just achieved a great milestone of a $15+ minimum wage. People sure need it when an hour of labor only earns about one gram of legal cannabis.

Meanwhile, the average price for a case of beer in NJ (12 x 12-ounce cans) is $20.84.

Working-class NJ cannabis consumers have limited interaction with regulated adult-use products mainly because of those extremely expensive prices.

Price is another strong argument to end the continued criminal prohibitions on home cultivation in New Jersey.

Deal Hunt for NJ Cannabis Consumers

Some people are hunting for terpenes, strains, or even potency levels. A fairly big group of consumers is searching for deals or simply the best value.

A wide canyon of disconnected ideals separates what could be real bread-and-butter daily consumers and the current NJ cannabis industry.

Weed only sells itself when it’s the best price. Right now, the numbers on the stickers just aren’t getting people like me in the door.

We’ve seen major market adjustments in California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and Illinois over the last five years. Across the country, product prices have declined exponentially over the last decade. Many businesses fizzled out in all those states trying to sell $60 eighths. 

Here in New Jersey, the market is tightly controlled by a small cartel of large corporations. They are the source of wholesale supplies. Also, they’re well positioned in the most prime areas. Using age-old methods, this regulated cartel keeps prices high.

Market Issues

Any small businesses entering the space are essentially forced to work with the cartel. Imagine trying to open a family-owned pizza place. The only way to start up is to try reselling Domino’s regular cheese pies … for $75 each.

While industry players are focused on investment funding, real estate, and corporate partnerships, New Jersey cannabis consumers and patients seem to be getting left behind.

We face confusing menus, shuffling products, tough-to-decipher labels, and constant upselling.

The lowest prices are indeed down in NJ from last year when almost everything was more than $400 per ounce, and some better options are appearing. Yet, there is still very little variety.

Almost everything is sourced from that pesky cartel, just a handful of large corporations.

One new place is breaking all my price charts: Brute’s Roots of Egg Harbor Township. They offer in-house sun-grown 1/4 ounces of ground flower/shake for $39, including tax. That makes for a very reasonable $156 ounce.

Brute’s Roots is a local, majority woman-owned company and the first non-corporate supplier that consumers are seeing in dispensaries. In fact, the BR flower made the most affordable list in several different locations this week.

Ultimately, burgers will always beat caviar.

By Chris Goldstein

Chris Goldstein is a writer based in New Jersey. For the last 25 years he’s been a cannabis consumer activist. Today, he is a regional organizer in NJ, PA, and DE for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

In 2013 Goldstein started one of the first dedicated weekly cannabis columns in America for the Philadelphia Inquirer called “Philly420”. During 2017 he created the “Marijuana in the News” class at Temple University’s Journalism Department. In 2017 Goldstein also received NORML’s Hunter S. Thompson Award for cannabis writing.

He formerly served on the Board of Directors at NORML chapters in Philadelphia and New Jersey and on the Board of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. From 2005 to 2008, Goldstein hosted National NORML’s weekly and daily audio podcasts that were top-ranked on iTunes.

Threads: https://www.threads.net/@chrisgoldstein420

Twitter: https://twitter.com/freedomisgreen

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