COLORADO: Medical Marijuana is Still the Best Deal on Pot in Colorado

Four months into legal recreational marijuana in Colorado, the market for medical cannabis is still by far the most cost-effective way to purchase pot in the state, a FiveThirtyEight analysis has found.

Colorado legalized the sale of recreational marijuana in 2012, setting the stage for the first open recreational marijuana economy in the United States. The first sales of recreational cannabis began this year. The medical marijuana economy had been established in Colorado for several years already, and has continued to be robust.

To see how prices compare across the two markets, I looked at data provided by WeedMaps, a site that posts locations, menus and prices of recreational and medical cannabis for sale in legal areas. The data set comprises 19,484 cannabis flower prices from 814 Colorado medical dispensaries starting in February 2013 and 1,940 cannabis flower prices from 104 Colorado recreational dispensaries, which opened Jan. 1, 2014. I found that at every price point, medical marijuana is cheaper than recreational pot.

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