Anyone who’s ever walked into a dispensary knows that weed doesn’t come cheap: the taxes alone are enough to drive us to drink instead of smoke. But it is variable depending on product – wax costs more than flowers, for instance. This is true when it comes to strain too: just as Skol Vodka is cheaper than Grey Goose, different buds are friendly to your checkbook while others are mortal enemies. If you’ve ever googled the most expensive strains (we did!), then you probably saw two that always make the list: they’re quite a bit more expensive than anything the typical pot shop has to offer. You know the Dom Perignon you joke about ordering while the waiter never laughs – these strains are that, marijuana style.
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Most Expensive Strain: The Oracle
The factor driving the price of the Oracle is its rarity: anything that’s hard to find is expensive. Even Honus Wagner is probably spending the afterlife scratching his head as to why his baseball card is worth a bajillion dollars (the actual number).
Simply, the Oracle is elusive and probably not available at a dispensary near you
In addition to its rarity, the rumors surrounding it also compound its inflation: it allegedly boasts a THC level of 45 percent. It’s an “oh my oh my” kind of high (if true). Yet, according to Cannabis Now Magazine, the strain is packed with CBD, a cannabinoid not known for its psychological impact. Per the L.A. based lab, the Werc Shop, the Oracle is genetically the same as the AC/DC strain.
Still, people are willing to shell out the money. Consumers have paid as much as 1,000 dollars per clone and 200 dollars per seed. The short-grow cycle probably helps: it’s only about 45 days.
Most Expensive Strain: The Isla O.G.
The strain rivaling the cost of the above is the Isla O.G. (the Oracle probably saw that coming). It’s affectionately known as “Cannabis in a Can” because it comes in, well, a can. Packaged in 1/8 ounce portions, it’s kept sealed to maintain freshness.
The strain also maintains its retail value: a never been open bag can be all yours for 800 dollars per ounce
Isla O.G. must give credit to, in part, a celebrity endorsement for its rise in fame: it was put on the map when 2 Chainz featured it on his show, Most Expensive Shit. It was already expensive (that’s how it got on the show to begin with) but its newfound stardom certainly added to its value.
The Economics of Expensive Seeds
As mentioned before, there are many things driving the cost of pot. Basic supply and demand is usually at the forefront of the cost of anything. But, in regards to marijuana and, more specifically, extremely expensive strains, other things dictate the number on the price tag. And none of these things are perhaps as important as marketing.
Cannabis sold in luxurious packages, with clever marketing ploys, and the mention of scarcity or a call to action (this is your last chance to try this strain until it goes back into the Disney Vault forever!) all add dollars to the dope. Marijuana doesn’t have the market on this kind of marketing; other products do it too.
Take two of the most expensive bottles of alcohol in the world: Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon Charles & Diana 1961 and Gout de Diamants. The former costs over four thousand dollars and is marketed as the official champagne from the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. The latter costs two million and comes in a bottle made of diamonds.
Of course, practicality also plays a role (in the cost of marijuana strains, not in sipping wine from a crevice of the Hope Diamond). Cannabis strains that are grown in controlled environments and those using 100 percent organic methods cost more than those grown under other conditions or with not as natural means.
Genetics matter as well. Offspring that comes from a long line of well-known, kick-ass strains will always cost more than offspring derived from average parents.
Another factor in the exuberant cost of certain strains is the exuberance of consumers: plainly, some people like to pay high for their high. Others merely like to treat themselves.
A New York City restaurant is famous for catering to this type of opulence. Serendipity 3 offers an ice cream sundae with a price tag of 1,000 dollars. People don’t pay the money because they can’t find delicious ice cream elsewhere or because this dish is magical and, somehow, entirely calorie-free: they pay for the experience. For some, buying weed at a luxurious price is also an experience worth having. If you got it, flaunt it, as the say. Or, in this case, smoke it.
The Moral of the Story
For those of us who can’t afford weed that rivals a mortgage, there are other options. It’s rare to find marijuana on any type of everything-must-go clearance sale, but the price will drop as recreational weed expands. Right now, it’s still fairly new. Even in places like Colorado, certain areas only have one local dispensary. That allows this dispensary to charge higher prices. They’ll lose some customers, sure, but most people won’t drive somewhere else because of the importance of convenience. As more shops open, the competition increases and the one way for a business to best deal with competition is to lower their prices: money talks and people listen.
Cannabis is a for-profit business and will remain that way, but more choices rein in that profit somewhat
In the meantime, you certainly don’t have to shell out for the Oracle or the Isla O.G. to enjoy your high. Strains come in all kinds of prices from the affordable to the not-so-affordable to the you-must-be-Warren-Buffet to buy. You never know, some people swear they have their best experiences with the cheapest products. That’s why Taco Bell is a thing.