‘Decimated’ by oversupply, Oregon wholesale prices for outdoor-grown trim, flower for oil drop to $50 a pound

(This story has been updated from an earlier version to clarify that these falling prices refer to trim and outdoor-grown flower sold to produce cannabis oil.)

Oregon’s marijuana cultivators are facing a challenging environment that favors vertically integrated companies and craft cannabis.

Wholesale prices for trim and outdoor-grown marijuana flower sold to processors have dropped to as low as $50 a pound. According to one industry insider, prices have undergone a 50% annualized drop over the past two years.

The situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon.

With hundreds of producer and retail licenses pending approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates the state’s cannabis industry, the supply glut is expected to only increase, depressing prices further.

As of Jan. 26, there were 520 retailers in the state, with 141 licenses pending approval, according to the agency’s website.

Compare that to 906 licensed producers, with 858 pending approval.

To ride out even more contraction in the market, businesses – either nascent or long-standing – should be well-capitalized, industry insiders say.

“People would stop trying to get in the industry if they actually knew what was going on here,” said Aviv Hadar, co-owner of Oregrown, a vertically integrated cannabis company in Bend.

“If you think there’s money in growing cannabis, put on a seatbelt and sit back for a 5-10-year ride, because it is not easy.”

Oversupply issues

Cultivators selling outdoor-grown flower to processors are getting as little as $50 a pound, according to Hadar.

“(The market) is just decimated. Decimated,” he said. “There’s so much oversupply.”

“I believe it,” said William Simpson, founder and president of Chalice Farms, a vertically integrated marijuana company in Portland.

He said he’s seen outdoor grown wholesale trim and flower for processing selling for as low as $100 a pound, but $50 a pound is “absolutely” possible.

Donald Morse, executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, said he’s heard of some people paying only $50 a pound for outdoor-grown trim, but it’s more common to see $100-$150 a pound.

“Prices have come down dramatically,” he noted.

Pete Gendron, president of the Oregon Sungrown Growers Guild, said characterizing the situation as dire for growers “is not an overstatement.”

Gendron expects prices to drop even more next year as the market continues to contract.

Hadar thinks the industry will look a lot different in a couple of years.

“Half of these people are going to be out of business,” he said.

Most of Oregon’s outdoor growers are selling their flower to be made into cannabis oil, often contracting out their harvest to manufacturers for two to three years, according to Hadar.

Contracting with a processor ensures a return on their crop and eliminates the risk of shopping it around.

Hadar said there aren’t enough retail outlets to buy outdoor-grown flower.

But, he added, there is a use for outdoor-grown flower in the form of vape cartridges, which are driving the Oregon market.

The cannabis oil in vape cartridges also is used for other infused products, including edibles and tinctures.

Hadar argues that consumers favor discrete consumption methods.

For consumers who aren’t concerned with discretion, the flower that sits in jars on retail shelves is from indoor grows, and the best of that indoor-grown flower commands a premium.

Oregon is seeing more boutique cannabis farms that don’t harvest a lot of product. These operations are slowly expanding as they pump out high-quality cannabis.

“Quality control really is the name of the game right now,” Gendron said.

“If you still have top-shelf flower, you’re still getting paid a pretty decent price for it.”

Vertical integration

The only way for growers to make it in the current Oregon market is to be vertically integrated, Simpson said.

“There’s so much competition,” he added.

The Oregon Cannabis Business Council’s Morse agreed.

Without a retail license, he said, a grower is competing with all other producers and often getting the lowest price.

“They have to be vertically integrated,” he added.

According to Hadar, retail stores are a necessity in your operation if you want to be successful.

While a customer can buy an ounce of flower for as low as $49 at some retail shops, a similar amount sells for a high of $560 in Hadar’s store. It costs him about $50 to grow a pound.

“That business model works,” he said. “Unless you own your own stores, good luck to you.”

Gendron doesn’t necessarily agree that growers must be vertically integrated to survive.

For example, he said, retail chains are developing in Oregon, and a business with 10 stores is going to need a diversified product pipeline to maintain its supply.

He added that businesses that are better capitalized will weather the fluctuation.

Gendron, who also does some consulting, said he recently was approached by someone with a business plan that allotted $500,000-$1 million to get in the game.

If you’re running an efficient business, Gendron said, that’s enough to get started.

“If you have a business plan that’s designed around lower margins or if you’re internally capitalized, you’re probably going to do fine,” he added.

What to do?

Morse attributes Oregon’s oversupply to a black market that’s more active than ever.

That’s because growers who can’t find a buyer in the legal sector end up selling to the black market, contributing to the supply being produced by illicit growers.

“They’re undercutting the prices in a dispensary,” he said. “We lose a lot of our domestic market share to black-market activity.”

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission could intervene if it deemed such action were necessary.

According to Morse, the agency has the right to evaluate the harvest, compare it to demand, then limit or expand canopy sizes for all grows.

But that’s not the most attractive solution.

“I’m not one for market protection,” Morse added. “I believe in free enterprise.”

Simpson expects the industry to overcome this oversupply situation and get to the other side.

“We will gain more of an equilibrium as an industry and become more of a mature market,” he said.

“It will level out to a market that will sustain.”

Bart Schaneman can be reached at [email protected]

67 comments on “‘Decimated’ by oversupply, Oregon wholesale prices for outdoor-grown trim, flower for oil drop to $50 a pound
  1. Bob on

    In Canada, Health Canada’s 88 Licenced Producers are dishing out ounces of flowers for 10$ per grams (280$/ounce).

    An ounce of flowers ordered on line from grey market will set you back 99$.

    Monopoly does’nt work.

    • Bob Veverka on

      what is a ounce of weed worth ? an ounce of good bud or flower, right now $99.00 sounds good. There’s many uses for this weed, we can save money and help the enviorment with it. Make all types of good things with it, cars ,clothing and replace many synthetic drugs. It’s a good weed, believe in it. The price will work itself out.

  2. Jim John on

    There are no $40 oz to the customer in Washington State. Do your research not just take some disgruntled producer from Washington.

  3. Lauren on

    “Donald Morse, executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, said he’s heard of some people paying only $50 a pound for outdoor-grown cannabis trim, but it’s more common to see $100-$150 a pound.”

    So are we talking about trim here or actual flower pounds?? Makes a huge difference.

      • Mile Hi Dave on

        From the first few sentences in the article:

        “Wholesale prices for trim and outdoor-grown marijuana flower sold to processors have dropped to as low as $50 a pound.”


    • Me on

      It’s untrimmed flower, trust me, I’m living it… Last I was told was $100/lb, 2 weeks ago. In December the same material was getting $225-$245/lb. I was told by our processor that this is because 1/3 of farms (indoor and outdoor) are going under, liquidating product as hash material, and taking any price for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did touch $50/lb. Good luck to any latecomers, the prospects are not good at the moment. Even if you crush your first year, you’d be lucky to break even at $100/lb. At least in the hash market, finding a buyer is much easier than selling retail. Say you grew 2000lbs trimmed flower (expenses go up at least 2.5x to trim the flower) and all 500 stores were willing to buy 1lb (very unlikely), you’d have to do that 4 times a year (also unlikely). Money only trickles in at that point, but money always flows out. To stay afloat is difficult. I miss the old days where trimmed outdoor flew at $50/oz. Hell, give me last year when untrimmed flower for hash was $325/lb

      • Roland on

        This is nuts, maybe not the way you think. Untrimmed bud has small leaves loaded with trichomes, smokes smooth. But most grower harvested way too late, producing “nuggets” with partly developed seed bracts, used an automatic trimmer, and it smokes harsh. I’m not going back to that “integrated” shop. They go for weight, a perverse incentive. An automatic trimmer removes the leaflets, and the trichomes end up in the bottom of the jar. That’s the best part! Do the budtenders keep that for themselves? Same with leaf lettuce in the grocery, they trim & discard the best leaves.
        Consumer wins in this situation, but homegrown (done right) is still the best.

  4. Morgan Glenn on

    Getting rid of the 51% equity residency requirement is the culprit. Legislators who took cash from out of staters to remove this law should be investigated.

  5. Brett Roper on

    My suspicion is that $50 a pound cannabis is likely that … $50 a pound cannabis trim and pounds are still in the $200 range (outdoor) as I understand it. I also understand quality indoor or greenhouse materials are still wholesaling in the $1000 plus range too. Oregon is just experiencing a bad case of Croptober as it has been referred to but likely it will worsen over the next few years until there is a proper shakeout in the industry. At the end of the day it is always going to be a matter of the best (and safe tested) quality at the lowest price will prevail and there are three distinct markets to watch … outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor noting there is also a price delta for all three as well.

  6. ron youngblood on

    Anything that is new and this industry is no different, time plays out and the market bears the plus or minus. Prices are where they should be for a consumable substance. To see continued sky high prices that are out of line such as 300-500 an ounce will stabilized when the glut clears up. A 5-10 year return on investment after this new industry settles in is not that far off from being correct. This is not the 1800s gold era rush.

    • Bob Veverka on

      300 to 500 an ounce must be some primo weed ! WEED ? as states add legal laws to this weed, it uses will go up and the prices will come down.

    • Me on

      Most people lost their shirts in the Gold Rush, so I’d say that it’s exactly like that. You make the most money selling the shovels and pickaxes. ?

  7. Bill Hartley on

    $50 per pound, really? Seriously doubt it. i guess that you are reefer-ing to the stalks and roots. Let me guess, you hold a short position on MJ stocks. This makes me question the authenticity of this publication.

  8. Hastings RH on

    Oregon is poorly managed and a poor state if you’ve ever been there.. So the Feds give protection to Medical pot and these dumb bunnies get rid of the medical program -stooopid.. Looks like the idiots in Cali are trying to head in the same direction but look for lawsuits to fly for at least another 10 years.. We need Dennis Peron back!!

    • Roland on

      It wasn’t stupid, it was a deliberate con. Here in SW OR (Illinois Valley) last summer a lot of fence & soil mix was sold to outdoor grows. Now suddenly it’s Butler Buildings, in a definitely rural area. It’s like the automatic trimmer is to bud what the cotton gin was to that crop. I wonder if we’ll see an upgrade to our power grid. It seems to me this is a situation in which (for a change) everyone loses except the consumer.

    • Nick on

      Hastings, the legal market is supporting lots of families and children by providing JOBS! Legalization means creating an industry. The failure is to allow big businesses to prosper. Washington state went the right way by limiting the number of licenses available to any one person, and no vertical integration.

      There is a market for medical, indeed. But the adult, recreational consumption should be left to growing businesses.

      The medical program in Oregon is still alive, but to encourage medical marijuana to be used recreationally is like saying medical marijuana is a lie. There is a place for both.

  9. Chuck on

    Not even close to accurate. people selling dog crap are getting 3-400 per lb but top grade outdoor is still moving at $800-1200. if you are not getting this you are the problem. There is some really cheap on the market but its not good smoke. its hardly worth a $1 a gram. this article is beyond misleading.

  10. Canna Clatch on

    Meanwhile, Division 25 rules state that any OLCC licensee can discount all the way to free, any product to an OMMP patient or caregiver card holder.

    My dairy farmer grandfather would ask –
    “Why not sell to patients for wholesale instead of shelving your goods while you go belly up.”

    Make some hash and wholesale it to us patients, the market is shit for concentrates. That’s what we need.

  11. Christopher Bechler on

    Absolutely incredibly misleading. The editor should have specified $50 a pound for TRIM in the title. This article is sensationalistic and fuels the fires of the “sky is falling” catastrophists who are fearfully uniformed. I’m disappointed in this publication, which purports to support the industry.

  12. Michael Young on

    Well, in my history of smoking Pot, you get what you pay. This stuff is pure crap and won’t last long in this age of BUDS<BUDS<BUDS they can't compete for long!! PHILI BY 2.5 Listen to me!!

  13. HaloHat on

    Prices for the very best cannabis will come down though as the millions of sq ft of grow ops currently under construction start producing. But $50 pounds, um, no.

    Put a decent part of your cannabis stock investments in oil producers and retailers.

    Get the banking issues in the USA and recreational legal country wide [with states rights to not participate] and things will work themselves out very quickly.

    I’m particularly interested in seeing how Canada’s mail order system works as well as USA states that allow for small personal grow ops. USA states that are banning the sale of flower encourage the black market.

  14. DoggyMcStyleLAWdotcom on

    Tulip mania all over again. Face reality: Marijuana grows anywhere and… easier than almost any other crop.
    As a corollary: tobacco is a regulated industry. Production costs…particularly fertilizers… are substantial. Tobacco only grows well in limited areas. Despite that…. it WHOLESALES at $2 per pound. Oils? 90%++ of corn or canola oil is extracted using hexanes and it sells RETAIL for maybe $10 a gallon. Same factory could be readily converted to producing cannabis oil at similar prices.

  15. Me on

    People need to bear in mind that this has less to do with the fall glut than it does with farms going under and liquidating product on the hash market. I’ve been told by 2 hash processors that 1/3 of farms are going under and selling of at any price.

  16. DabDawg on

    This seems fairly misleading, weed trimmings are going for chump change not actual flower so I m not feeling bad for any growers out there since they should be happy af there’s even a market for the trim

  17. Darth neph on

    Yeah this is silly. I’ve been farming since 94. And even know during the flood I’m getting 700 to 1k for greenhouse. 12 to 1300 for light depo and 16 to 2k for indoors.
    If anyone up there is selling units at 50 to 300 lol per unit… sh** hit me up I’ll grab all that work and atleast double my $..
    50 per unit !! Lol
    Must be seeded brick packed red hair with powdery mildew and mold with hay smell…

  18. Jimmy James on

    And yet, in Canada, we have billion dollar businesses based off the sq ft of their proposed build outs,.
    I’m gonna bet it’s $25 a lb in Canada a year from July 1….. I’m shorting some LPs..

  19. Peter on

    I rarely comment on a public forum. I’ll offer my insight in context of commodity prices only

    I’ve worked as an economist most of my life, earned my doctorate in early 90s. Most my work has focused within pharma and agri sectors sometimes meditating 9-figure deals etc

    My point is correctly predicting markets is what I do and how I make money

    Canada, in 2021-22 high grade cannabis will be sold by a certain cultivator at $Can 0.50-0.52 per gram. I anticipate in 2023-24 spot price will nose dive to 14-18c when a large entity operating in a licit country sth of USA gains access to proprietary technology – it may or may not reside in the public domain by then but that’s going off topic. The ramifications of implementing this technology will in-part control the global market, with China remaining the greatest variable factor

    Those savvy enough or already in know can read between the lines and can easily extrapolate what this means for the US market

    If not, let me put it another way. In 2020 the cost to produce 1kg of the highest grade pathogen/pesticide free, processed flowers by a certain company (as purported in their prospectus) is USD $27.

    No doubt, there’ll be no shortage of folk who’ll laugh at this. I’m not writing this for them.

    To those who have better sense I say this: the ‘green rush’ analogy is fundamentally flawed: gold doesn’t grow in the ground and only fool’s gold grows on trees.

    • Tom on

      Green-gold rush thing spot on. You are setting yourself up for pain n sorrow to be entering this market as a cultivator now unless you are backed by a multi-hundreds of millions of $.

      Why? If you don’t have this money now, those who do are about to crush you by producing better flower than you and selling it for 20 times less than you can produce it for.

      Read the financial markets. It’s not hard to see. Look at the current mergers, and the entire world following suit

      This is no different from any other market – except that there are a lot peeps paying States big $ for a financial death sentence. Of course the States are happy to take the fees!

      I know several people who’ve taken the warning signs and forfeited pending license applications.

      This was always going to happen. What surprises me is all the doom n gloom that so many peeps didn’t see this coming. Understand any commodity market am no expert but you must realise this is juz textbook 101 stuff

      I’m out and have just got back into realestate

      But seriously, look at this the other way. So what, we didn’t make millions in it – but in 1 year we’ll be able to buy premium flower for a fraction the cost of tobacco!

      Think about that for a moment…

      This is only a good thing, you must agree

      • Bear on

        I agree that if you want to make millions, buy real estate and repeat. Working for me and I am not willing to risk it on government and corporate BS.
        Abandoning legal canna business plans, my 2015 medical corporation is up for sale.
        After being arrested for growing, I have been lucky and always had enough to buy quality herb and concentrates.

  20. Martijn on

    I manage a dispensary in southern Oregon and I’ve seen trimmed flower as low as 350$ and that’s machined trimmed and hand finished. I’m also partners in a microcannopy tier 2 farm in eaglepoint and it is very hard to make any profit when your selling pounds for any less than 800$ thankfully we are small and fully paid for, so riding out the storm is more achievable. Also moving 200 pounds of buds is a lot easier than 2000! I sure hope most of the 850 some add producer application disappear!

  21. XXX on

    Here CO we grow our own Weed at home for use or resell on street banking up, i know every one here does it and buying 400k-500k house, car and tone of cash..no problem only shop owner cry all over…lol

  22. Skyblue on

    No seriously…whole thing has imploded. Can’t even sell shatter or other concentrates. Know folks sitting on 1000s of pounds and the tax man wants his share too.
    Up in smoke…sadly the worst is yet to come!

    • Mike on

      Blame The OLCC
      they failed to limit the permits and supply.
      It’s a joke they got to greedy and now the implode begins.

      I see fire sale after fire sale all day.
      I own 2 retail cannabis stores.

      it’s a disgrace

  23. Chris Wickman on

    Being a Legacy grower who began in 1968 (yes the year BEFORE the moon landing and Woodstock), I have seen the reality and it is an ECONOMIC LESSON that any true business person knows. ANY product once legalized, and Big or SMALL producers jump in on a sure thing this fluctuation is sure to happen! Watch for licence reductions to only happen when the TAX and Agencies who regulate and rely on the proceeds to bend to the wishes of the BIG BUSINESS who will wait until the great shake out inevitably happens. At that time you will then see that the BIG Parma will grab its share and the BIG Tobacco OR the Monsanto’s WILL grab their share. These mega-monsters will have many producers out matched and they WILL PRODUCE QUALITY. And they will cover the range of need for the the average consumer and even the High End USER will be controlled by these actions. Yes everyone can argue but the reality is that the “MICRO BREW” model is what QUALITY producers should focus on. Establish your BRAND, be CONSISTENT in you product and develop a Reputation and thus user demand for YOUR NAMED product. The method of your PRODUCED product, weather outdoor/indoor or LD GH the reality is that when you have more END product than the demand in whatever area you live in the glut pushes all available product to the lowest common denominator. MORAL of the story. BE the BEST, be CONSISTENT, and develop your NAME!!….Or not!

    • Bear on

      Everyone line up for the things that were repulsive to is in the 60s. Branding, marketing, business, competition, big pharma, big tobacco, big money, greed.
      I’m not saying you aren’t correct, just saying . . .

  24. john on

    Hi I am a oregon tier 2 producer and our target price is $25-60/lb for this season, and worse for next year 2019. this is for machined trimmed bud at 15% for oil. anything we grow that tests 20% we sell for bud at retail for about $350. we will throw away (compost) the trim. the problem is the blackmarket is 80 times bigger then the legal market. That and retail shops not being able to deduct expenses, makes it so they must sell legal bud at $3000-4000/lb at $5-20/gram (454 gram in a pound) but it doesn’t make sense for a customer to pay for this if they can go on the blackmarket and buy at $700-800. Which is exactly what everyone is doing. I do not have a single friend in Portland who buys retail. They all buy blackmarket and save thousands of dollars. Until legal can underprice the blackmarket, there is zero incentive to go into growing unless you keep your expenses extremely low — like we do, and by low, I mean under $20,000 (or even less — the cost of the license and fertlizer with no salary) a year. I am expecting to make about $5/hr which is about right for a entrepreneur farmer in general. Welcome to Oregon.

  25. Mike on

    The problem is caused by the OLCC.
    They have failed to protect growers and vendors and processors by overselling the permits for use instead of creating a cap limiting the amount of supply.

    California was much smarter, in turn California now buys the majority of Oregon’s oversupply and sells it in their retail stores taxing it and harnessing the revenue.


    Compared to liquor which they completemy limit all aspects of it is ridiculous.

    The OLCC is terribly mismanaged and has no understanding of this industry.


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