PUEBLO, Colo. - A new report shows the price of marijuana in Colorado has dropped by half since 2015. In Pueblo, both dispensaries and elected officials have taken notice of the changing market.
Jim Parco, the owner of Mesa Organics, says the price drops haven't hurt his business because more people are coming into his shop.
Mesa Organics opened back in January of 2016; since then, Parco says his prices have plummeted.
"Customers were paying $300 an ounce," says Parco. "Now I'm selling $60 ounces all day long."
Parco says as farmers and shops increased, competition forced prices to drop. He says the population size in Pueblo County does not call for the number of dispensaries in the area.
"We have twenty-five to thirty stores here in a city of [about] 100,000," says Parco. "We have too many stores."
County officials have taken notice of the changing weed market in Pueblo County. Last week, commissioners voted to extend the moratorium on any new dispensary licenses until 2020. This is done to hurt the black market sales of marijuana, and to wait until the new laws are passed.
However, a big reason for the moratorium is to prevent unnecessary competition that would hurt existing business and make it difficult for new businesses to succeed.
"We don't want to have too much product in the marketplace," says Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace. For Pace the moratorium is meant to protect the marijuana marketplace, not to fix prices. "We recognize there has been a price drop, and there is a lot of folks cultivating. It is impacting the marketplace."
Parco, also a Professor in Economics at Colorado College, says moratoriums can be tricky, but he believes this one is supportive of existing dispensaries.
"We have seen prices fall from $2,400 on the commercial wholesale market, but that's with the moratorium," says Parco. "Had they not put it into effect and we had more people come into the market, at some point flower would sell so inexpensively that no one could make any money."
Parco says he is making money and growing despite the price drops. The prices may be lower, but more people are able to afford the product.
However, not everyone is benefiting from the price drops.
With all of the competition, cultivators and farmers are sometimes selling their crop for far less than the original asking price.
"Farmers are always the ones taking it in the shorts," says Parco. "They are the ones that are hurting right now because ultimately what they thought they were selling for $2,400 a pound is now at $500."