Budtender Will Bibbs, left, helps a customer at Washington marijuana shop Cannabis City in Seattle on Dec. 30, 2014. (Elaine Thompson, Associated Press file)

Washington state marijuana retailers cope with falling pot prices

Crowded market leaves Washington state weed prices rivaling street value at $10 a gram

LONGVIEW, Wash. — As the price of marijuana continues to drop, Washington pot businesses are struggling to keep up with the changes.

According to data from the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, since legal marijuana entered the market in July 2014, prices have dropped from $25 to $30 per gram to about $10 a gram now, The Daily News in Longview reports.

Prices are plummeting as new retailers clog the market. Tax changes are also lowering the wholesale price.

This year, 222 marijuana licenses will be added throughout Washington state, including three new licenses in Cowlitz County, three in Lewis County and one in Pacific County.

Andy Dhalai, owner of 420 Holiday in Longview, south of Seattle, said to keep money coming in he is working to boost sales volume and expand clientele. He said as people become more comfortable with legal marijuana, business should continue to be stable.

“At first people were scared to come into the shops because it was still federally illegal, but now people are a little bit more relaxed,” Dhalai said. “I feel (the business) is still viable, and there’s a lot more customers now.”

Retailers said profits suffered slightly last summer when the state changed marijuana taxes. There used to be a 25 percent tax on producers, processors and retailers, but since the change there is now a single 37 percent tax at point of sale.

Hollie Hillman, a manager at Freedom Market in Longview, said she monitors her competitors’ prices daily, sometimes dropping prices by a few dollars a gram to keep customers coming in. She said she doesn’t expect Washington state weed prices to fall much further, as they’re nearing illegal street market prices of as low as $7 a gram.

“I don’t think it can get much lower than that,” she said.

Despite the low prices, Hillman said Freedom Market is selling enough volume to survive fluctuating prices.

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Information from: The Daily News