Marijuana Prices Spike 8.1% to $1,742 per Pound

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Arizona may vote to legalize recreational marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said it would still be a federal criminal offense. Whether these pieces of news had an effect, marijuana prices shot up 8.1% to $1,742 per pound last week.

An analysis of the week by Cannabis Benchmarks:

The simple average (non-volume weighted) price increased $82 to $1,966 per pound, with 68% of transactions (one standard deviation) in the $1,461 to $2,472 per pound range.  The average deal size decreased 37% to 8.7 pounds.  In grams, the Spot price was $3.84, and the simple average price was $4.33.

The research operation also looked at prices in the future.

September Forward increases to $1,625 per pound.
Forward prices were mostly stable this week, with the Prompt Month (September) gaining $50 on a broad market recovery that witnessed price increases in all of the western markets.  The September Forward had declined more than $500 per pound over the past eight weeks and currently represents a discount of 6.7% relative to the U.S. Spot Index.

24/7 Wall St. recently looked at the Next 14 States to Legalize Marijuana:

To determine the next states most likely to legalize recreational marijuana, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed existing marijuana laws in each state. To be considered, a state needed to have already legalized medicinal marijuana. Of those 25 states, a state needed to have either decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot, or allow ballot initiatives that can lead to legalization. Only 14 states met these criteria. State marijuana laws came from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and marijuana use and perceptions of risk came from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In states that have not decriminalized marijuana, maximum fines are listed for the smallest amount penalized for first-time offenders.

1. Arizona
> Possession decriminalized: No
> Amount decriminalized: N/A
> Max. fine for less than 2 lbs: $150,000
> Pct. adults using in past year: 13.5%

Currently, penalties for marijuana possession in Arizona are among the most severe in the country. Arizona is the only state where a person possessing any amount of marijuana can face felony charges. In addition, possession can lead to a two-year prison sentence and up to a $150,000 fine.

Despite the draconian laws, Arizona may well be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. State voters submitted more than enough petition signatures to the Secretary of State in late June to include a measure on the ballot in November to end marijuana prohibition and effectively regulate the drug like alcohol. If passed, the provision would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. A report released by the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates that legalizing marijuana would generate $82 million in additional tax revenue annually.

2. California
> Possession decriminalized: Yes
> Amount decriminalized: 28.5 g or less
> Max. fine for 28.5 g or less: $100
> Pct. adults using in past year: 14.4%

California voters have said no to legalizing recreational marijuana use multiple times. First in 1972, and again, by a much slimmer margin, in 2010. This year may be different, however. California is one of five ballot initiative states where voters will be given the opportunity to overturn marijuana prohibition. Proposition 64, commonly referred to as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. Proponents say the proposition will save state and local governments tens of millions of dollars in enforcement of marijuana laws and potentially bring in more than a billion dollars in additional tax revenue annually. One recent poll suggests Proposition 64 will easily pass.

Despite some early defeats for marijuana reform groups, the state has historically had a relatively progressive attitude towards pot. State residents voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, and in October 2010, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.