Cannabis, marijuana, ganja, whatever name you call it by – is usually seen as something that you consume to get high or for medicinal purposes. However, when you look at the broader scheme of things, it is a business – and quite a thriving one too! States in the US which have legalized marijuana have been making billions in taxes and it is a very good business model in the legal channels. This leads many to the questions – how much do growers make selling to dispensaries?
In this article, we answer this question, as well as many more related to the economics of marijuana. We take a closer look at legalization, at how cannabis is grown, what dispensaries are, how growers and dispensaries team up, along with many other questions that you might have when it comes to growing and selling marijuana – the legal way!
Legality of Weed: A Closer Look
When it comes to growing and consuming marijuana, the laws in the US used to be very strict for quite a long time. However, over the past decades, there have been a number of reforms which have been introduced and they have been quite progressive too! In the past consuming marijuana would be dealt with the harshest of punishments and people were forced to pay up hefty fines or even serve time in the prison for a crime that wasn’t really considered as big. With people rising up in pro-marijuana movements, and with scientists proving how beneficial cannabis is for the health and well being of humans, the government has been relaxing many laws.
As of this writing, most states in the US have legalized the consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes and some states have even legalized the consumption of weed for recreational purposes! This is a major change in the attitude compared to the past where smoking weed was considered a major legal and social taboo. While it is still socially looked down upon, but with time this social outlook is also bound to change as people open up to the idea that consumption of weed is a legal activity.
When you take a global look, this movement seems to be catching on to many countries. Canada has been pro-weed for quite a long time now and has legalized marijuana in their country for quite some time now. In addition to Canada, countries such as Spain, along with many other European nations, as well as some nations from South America have also legalized weed. There are movements going on in Australia and a few other nations around the world about this as well. Members of Parliaments of many countries have begun to raise this point forward.
There are a number of reasons as to why the legalization of weed makes complete sense. First off, it will help a number of youth ensure that they are not jailed or face a hard fine over this and do not get a black mark on their records. This also helps ensure that a number of people who suffer from ailments such as mental health disorders, PTSD, or even something like arthritis and cancer can get better treatment and pain relief with the help of marijuana. However, the biggest benefit here is that with legalizing marijuana and with setting up licensed dispensaries, the government can get a major chunk of profits in the form of taxes on weed! This is helping states earn billions of dollars in revenue and is proving to be a very successful financial model too!
What are Dispensaries?
Before we get to the question of how much do growers make selling to dispensaries, let us take a closer look at what dispensaries are. Simply speaking, these are places from where you could legally buy marijuana. These are places where you would have a rate card of the different strains of weed available with them along with the prices and you could choose the one which suits your needs the best, pay them up, and walk home with your legally purchased marijuana along with the receipt of purchase which legalizes the weed you are smoking!
In the past, if people wanted to smoke weed the only options they had was to either grow their own weed, or to get it from a street-side ‘peddler’. Both of these were illegal as well as risky. Getting your weed from peddlers is always risky because first off, you do not know what goes in the weed that they are growing. You do not know where it comes from, how it has been grown, what kind of nutrients have been used, etc. You might end up buying laced or spiked weed which can be quite risky and can pose a major danger to your health. Furthermore, the price that you pay for this weed is also never a fixed price and it might change depending on the time of the year and from peddler to peddler. To add to all of this, it is completely illegal to buy weed off the street and it could still land you in trouble!
The second option that you had was to grow your own weed. While this was a safer option in terms of smoking pure weed, it takes quite a bit of an effort and you would need permissions from the government to grow your weed and you can’t grow beyond a certain number of plants. Hence, dispensaries are the best options for those people who want to smoke weed.
Coming back to where we began – the question of how much do growers make selling to dispensaries arises from the fact that at the end of the day, dispensaries are also a business model. They are just a platform that sells weed to the buyers and they don’t actually grow their own weed. These dispensaries also need to procure weed from somewhere and this is where professional growers step in. Given the legalization drive is on full swing, there are a number of people who see selling weed to dispensaries as a viable business model and want to jump on to it.
The Business of Growing Marijuana
When it comes to growing weed, there are two approaches – first off there are small-scale growers who grow weed for their personal consumption. These are the growers who grow small amounts of weed (less than a state-approved number of plants). These growers can grow in small grow rooms or in even smaller grow tents where they can set up grow lights, fans, and small quantities of nutrients, etc. would enable them to grow quite a bit of weed that will suit their needs of personal consumption – and maybe even supply enough to distribute some to friends and family.
However, when it comes to selling weed to dispensaries, this is a tricky business and is quite an extensive task. These are commercial-scale growers who would grow really large quantities of weed. These growers don’t operate out of grow rooms or basements but are actually growing in large-scale farms where they use greenhouses to grow weed. These large-scale commercial growers make use of rows of grow lights to ensure that the lighting is extended beyond the sunlight hours too. Here, there are large scale devices of climatic control which generate the right amount of humidity, and ensure that the temperatures remain cool round the year with the help of air conditioners and humidifiers.
Employees of these large scale farms ensure that they are pruning well in time and are making sure that all the right kind of nutrients, water, etc. is provided to the plants in time. These plants are grown, dried, and cured in really large scale quantities and are then sold off to dispensaries all over the US. This is among the best quality weed you can find in the US because dispensaries have a very high standard of quality control and quality check and all of those parameters have to be met while growing weed for them. They can send over teams for inspection and if anything is found amiss contracts are known to be cancelled!
How Growers Sell to Dispensaries
There are two kinds of dispensaries out there – first off, there are the ones which sell medicinal marijuana, and then there are dispensaries which sell recreational marijuana. Both of them are very popular but different kinds of weed need to be grown for both of them. Growers who sell weed to medicinal dispensaries tend to grow strains of weed which are high in CBD content and low in THC content. Similarly, when it comes to growing weed for recreational purposes, growers prefer to grow weed which is high in THC content but low on CBD content. This is because CBD is known for the medicinal properties of weed while THC is known for the ‘high’ that consumers get off it. Sometimes the dispensaries will tell you the exact strain that they want.
Growers have to make a careful choice of growing the right strain of weed and then they have to follow a number of quality standards to ensure that they are living up to the expectations set by the dispensaries. The most important thing is to get a license for growing commercial scale weed and it is very important. Only after getting a license will you be allowed to grow marijuana in such large quantities.
There are often tenders that are sent out and based on that contracts are drawn out. These contracts are time bound and if the dispensaries are not satisfied with the performance of the growers they may refuse to extend the contracts for the future. This ensures quality control and makes sure that the buyers are getting the best quality of marijuana. They also let out tenders which make sure that the dispensaries get the weed at the right price from multiple bidders.
How Much Do Growers Make Selling to Dispensaries?
Coming to the actual question at hand – what is the profit that growers make when they sell their marijuana to the dispensaries. There is no stable answer to this as it changes from grower to grower and dispensary to dispensary. The kind of charges levied upon the growers, the amount of electricity and manpower that they utilize, the kind of price that the dispensary is willing to pay, etc. are all factors that can affect it. However, if we still talk a ballpark figure, most growers make a profit ranging between $50,000 to $100,000 when selling weed to dispensaries.
This profit is just a ballpark range and it can fall below $50,000 and higher than $100,000 too. As per statistics from 2017 (which isn’t that far ago), dispensaries purchased marijuana from growers at about a couple of thousand dollars per pound. The prices have reduced since then – but nothing that should worry the growers and nothing that would cause a major dent on their earnings.
Not a Grower? Other Marijuana-Related Jobs in the US
While not everyone can own a marijuana farm that growers commercial-scale weed or not everyone can set up a dispensary, there are still a number of weed-related jobs that you can get if you wish to work in the industry. You can choose to be a ‘budtender’, which is basically the front-desk guy at the dispensary who sells weed to the customers. This is an interesting profession that pays quite well and you get to be around weed all day! Another interesting option for people who want to work in the marijuana industry is that of being a bud trimmer. Bud trimmers play an important role in the industry as this is a profession that requires a lot of skill and a lot of patience. These people make the buds look good and remove all the unwanted elements off it.
Other professions in the marijuana industry include being a dispensary manager, who basically supervises the budtenders. This is also a nice job that pays quite well. Then there are other jobs which include farm maintenance staff, who water the plants, provide nutrients and basically supervise the weed farms. There’s also an interesting choice of profession of being a chef who specializes in marijuana edibles these days and this is another option that pays quite handsomely if you are good at it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Growers and Dispensaries
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about growing weed and selling it in dispensaries:
1. What documents are needed to buy marijuana from a dispensary?
When it comes to buying marijuana from a dispensary, you need different kinds of document depending on whether you are buying medicinal or recreational weed. For recreational weed you need an age proof which shows you are 21 years or above (the age limit may vary based on your location). However, when it comes to buying medicinal marijuana, you need a medical cannabis registry card from your department of public health. Even for this there is an age limit, which is usually over the age of 18.
2. What is the difference between medicinal and recreational marijuana?
Medicinal weed is usually the kind of weed that is high on CBD content while recreational weed is the kind of weed that is high on THC content. This is because CBD gives you the medicinal effects of stress relief, pain relief, etc. while THC is the primary psychoactive component that makes you feel ‘high’.
3. Can I carry weed in my car?
Carrying weed in a car is legal as long as you have the right receipts, are carrying it in a legally permissible quantity, and are not consuming it while you drive. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime which is punishable by law.
4. Is it legal to smoke weed in hotels?
Honestly, the answer to this depends upon the policy of the hotel that you want to stay at. A number of hotels do allow it, but there are many which don’t.
There are a number of questions that growers have when it comes to weed. Some of them are about the laws, some of them are about where they can buy the weed from, then there are other questions about the kind of weed they can smoke etc. One such question is that of how much do growers make selling to dispensaries. We hope that we have provided you with complete details about this in our article here. We have tried to include everything that a grower should know about the process of growing weed as well as about dispensaries and how they operate. Our effort is to provide you with an all-round information and there should be no doubts lingering around! If you still have any questions that you want to be answered, feel free to let us know in the comments or drop us an email and we shall get back to you as soon as we can! Till then.
…Happy Growing! 🙂