It’s been only days since the sale of marijuana became legal in Colorado, but stores are already running out of weed. Despite extravagant prices and hours-long lines outside the state’s 37 pot stores, supply can't keep up with demand.
Prices have been steep. The Denver Post reported that stores were charging $50 to $70 for one-eighth of an ounce of pot. That amount of pot cost medical marijuana users just $25 the day before legalization. And the price doesn’t include taxes of about 20 percent that are added on.
Toni Fox, owner of the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that a sellout is imminent. “We are going to run out,” she said on Thursday, which was just the second day of legal recreational marijuana sales. “It’s insane. This weekend will be just as crazy. If there is a mad rush, we’ll be out by Monday.”
An Associated Press story said that some shops had to close early on Wednesday because they’d didn’t have enough weed on hand.
In anticipation of the run on pot, Colorado patients who require cannibis for medical conditions were urged to stock up before recreational sales began.
Some people have been quoted saying that the cost of legal marijuana and the short supply could push sales back on the black market.
Despite the large sales, users are grumbling about the high taxes associated with getting high legally. According to Colorado’s nonpartisan voter-information guide, taxes were predicted to add about $40 to the price of an ounce of marijuana.
The taxes were estimated to bring in $67 million per year initially, out of which $27.5 million would go to school construction and $6 million to local governments.
In addition to sales taxes, marijuana stores have to pay licensing and application fees.
Opponents to the tax say is excessive.
Meanwhile, as Coloradans were lighting up, one of the nation’s most punitive states for illicit drug use was loosening its anti-marijuana laws. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he plans to announce an executive action that would allow limited use of the drug by those with serious illnesses.
Cuomo’s policy would allow just 20 hospitals across the state to prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer, glaucoma or other diseases that meet standards to be set by the New York State Department of Health.