New Jersey residents are surely paying top dollar when it comes to their medical marijuana.
In the national medical marijuana scene, few states have as big of an obstacle (literally) to overcome as the state’s much maligned Gov. Chris Christie. The outspoken governor has let it be known at every possible occasion that he is in no way, shape, or form in support of the legalization of marijuana.
According to crowd sourced data from the website priceofweed.com and the Cannabis Price Index, the average price for an ounce of 'top shelf' cannabis is about $350, though it is not uncommon to see prices in the $500+ range for some of the more popular and sought after strains at some medical marijuana dispensaries. For states that have an MMJ program in place, this is on average about $100 more expensive for an ounce of quality marijuana than their counterparts. The price gap continues to widen as you go west. In states like Washington and Oregon where there is an abundance of the herb, not to mention recreational use is permitted, prices on average are about $200 less than those you’d find in New Jersey.
There is no improvement in sight — in fact things appear to be getting worse. Back in 2013, a survey from the New Jersey Department of Health found that patients at New Jersey's various medical marijuana dispensaries paid on average $469 per ounce. According to activist Ken Wolski, patients are now being charged over $500 per ounce for legal pot, and as a result, many are forced to buy it on the black market, where it's more affordable and untaxed.
"They're priced out of the program," Wolski said. "Insurance doesn't cover the costs."
Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project stated, "In terms of the medical market, the high cost of licensing and being able to meet the regulatory requirements is certainly reflected in the cost of medicine. The relative rarity of operational dispensaries in the state, combined with the fact that patients cannot grow their own medicine, creates a supply-side deficit that also has an impact on prices. Unfortunately, patients bear the brunt of this."
At this point, all New Jersey has to be proud of as far as its medical marijuana program is concerned is that even though prices are sky high, New York still has them beat for the nation's most pricy ganja. Good or bad, it's still not the Big Apple.