Legal recreational marijuana could push up pot prices

(WHDH) — We’re just days away from recreational marijuana becoming legal in Massachusetts. But 7News found out that high demand could soon push up pot prices.

Pot enthusiasts won’t see any recreational marijuana shops open on July 1, the day the law says any adult can start to legally buy pot in Massachusetts. But once they’re up and running, how much green will you need to get your hands on weed?

“In the early days, it’s likely that you will see prices that are relatively high,” said Kris Krane, a veteran pot entrepreneur and president of 4Front Ventures, a cannabis investment and management company in Boston.

Krane said you should expect to pay a heady price at first. That’s because demand for pot spikes – but the supply doesn’t.

“It’s going to take time for both the existing operators to scale up their cultivation and production capabilities and capacity,” Krane said.

Until pot production really gets smoking, Massachusetts could see price hikes – or even shortages. But the problem can’t be solved by bringing pot in from other states that have plenty, like California, Oregon, or Washington.

“Because this is still federally illegal, absolutely nothing is allowed to cross state lines,” Krane said.

To make sure that pot stays within Massachusetts’ borders, the state legislature capped the amount any person can buy or possess at one time at one ounce. But in the months ahead, pot shops themselves might have to make their own rules, and make the maximum buy even lower.

“Many dispensaries will likely limit purchases to even below what the state limits are, just to make sure that they continue to have enough supply,” Krane said.

So how high could prices go?

Right now, an eighth of an ounce of marijuana at medical dispensaries in Massachusetts costs about $50. Krane said in the coming months, prices for recreational and medical pot could spike as high as $75 dollars for the same amount. Add on the new 17 percent state sales tax for recreational pot, and you’re looking at the possibility of nearly $90.

But Krane said he’s confident pot prices won’t stay high forever.

“I think that drop will occur steadily over the course of two to three years,” Krane said.

Nationally, wholesale pot prices are on the way down.

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