On a golf course in Southern Oregon, this dude had a Purple Heart tattoo on his forearm and a brain injury from driving over a bomb in Afghanistan, and he was offering to sell me marijuana for $20 an ounce — a very, very good deal.
I thought the TBI had rattled his brain, since marijuana has never been that cheap. But then he told me something even more remarkable: he had gotten two pounds of marijuana for $20 — the sweetest deal in history.
Two pounds of marijuana for $20! Pounds. Pounds used to cost $2,000. Now, they cost around $500 to $1,000 in Oregon.
The veteran — who didn't want his name used — thought that he was getting basically free weed because the state was being generous to veterans.
In fact, his weed steal is due to the fact that Oregon's medical marijuana market is so choked with weed now that growers toss it out like candy from a pinata, all in exchange for being designated someone's caregiver.
See, Oregon medical cannabis permits for veterans cost just $20. Then, vets designate a grower of up to six flowering plants.
Six outdoor Oregon plants can produce 12 pounds. Two pounds go to the veteran, enough ganja to smoke out a casual stoner for years.
That means ten pounds might've remained in that grower's hands. New laws say medical marijuana growers can sell up to 20 pounds into the adult-use system.
Pounds go for $250 to $1,500 to rec shops, so the grower could haul in $2,500 to $15,000.
Or, he can ship across state lines, where pounds go for $2,200 in the East and South — that's $22,000. Not a bad deal, and the grower remains relatively legally protected.
Oregon medical pot grows have long supplied the national black market, because wet, temperate Oregon is marijuana's natural home. The state decriminalized cannabis in 1973. By the mid-80s, it was probably Oregon's biggest cash crop. These soft laws created a subculture of growers with mad growing skills. After Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 1998, and recreational passed in 2014, the state's low barriers to entry made weed more plentiful and cheaper than in any state in the history of the country, maybe the world.
Twenty dollars an ounce!? Twenty dollars for two pounds?! What a world.
Marijuana is a plant; it's the Drug War that jacks up prices. When the Drug War ends, weed might not cost much more than American Beauty roses or organic Harry and David pears.
The veteran was happy with his deal. The government wasn't giving him weed for his military service; the MMJ regulations hooked him up. And he's still looking for someone to take his extra weight off his hands.