Technology also plays a role, as new software has enabled a digital marketplace for wholesale cannabis. Cultivators now upload their inventory, test results and pictures to digital platforms where buyers can compare products. With the exception of “some unicorns,” most strains fetch the average market rate, Monroe said, or growers risk being priced out completely.
Still, many anticipate the wholesale cost will remain relatively flat in 2020. Or at least they’re hoping it will.
Entrepreneurs who broke into Colorado’s cannabis industry at the ground level — the growers — have endured economic whiplash over the last two years as the market for wholesale flower experienced volatile swings in price.
And any movement on the federal level, such as approval of SAFE Banking Act to allow marijuana businesses access to bank services, would surely have local implications.
“The cannabis industry gets this reputation that it’s a business that’s flush with cash and creating marijuana millionaires,” said Mike Lord, director of business development of LivWell, which operates two grows and 16 retail stores in Colorado and Oregon. “It’s a hard business like any other business.”
After low of $759 per pound in 2018, average wholesale marijuana price now back up to $1,316 per pound
“The boom is over and now we’re looking at a more mature market,” said Christian Hageseth, CEO and chairman of One Cannabis, which expects to produce 14,000 pounds of marijuana in Colorado in 2020.
New state regulations mandating pesticide testing and microbial contamination testing only compounded the problem, forcing many farmers who couldn’t recoup their expenses to shutter. By the end of 2019, Colorado cultivation licenses dropped 8% to 683 businesses, according to the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
A subsequent illegal cultivation offense is a level 1 drug misdemeanor if there were no more than 24 plants. The sentence is six-to-18 months in county jail and/or fines of $500 to $5,000.
Medical marijuana patients can ask the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for an extended plant count.
4. How do I fight the charges?
A common defense to marijuana cultivation charges is that the police found the plants through an illegal search and seizure. If the defense attorney can show the judge that law enforcement violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, then the judge may suppress all evidence of the plants. And this may leave the D.A. with too little evidence to prosecute.
Possessing more than 12 marijuana plants in a residence is a Colorado crime.
6. How soon can the criminal record be sealed?
The wait time to seal criminal records in Colorado depends on the type of conviction.