The mood was somber at this year’s Hall of Flowers, the annual early fall trade show in Santa Rosa, California, which has become a de-facto preview of the yearly sungrown cannabis harvest.
For years prior to legalization and the opening of California’s adult-use cannabis market in January 2018, even if indoor-grown buds glistening with trichomes commanded higher prices, outdoor farmers still enjoyed reliably healthy appetites for their lower-THC, distinctly aromatic cuts. A pound of trimmed outdoor could fetch thousands of dollars.
Not anymore. Since the opening of legal markets, outdoor prices have fallen, but fluctuated just enough to keep people in business. This year, however, with the early light-deprivation harvest competing with enormous auto-flowering hauls from the airliner-hangar-sized greenhouses in the Salinas Valley and Santa Barbara County, as well as the usual indoor supply, things were different.
As one outdoor entrepreneur grimly joked, someone could wear a t-shirt offering “$50 packs,” and instead of eliciting knowing, sad laughs, they would probably entertain serious offers. A pound of outdoor cannabis in 2021 in early October, before the annual “Croptober” harvest, would demand around $500 on the market. But most are asking for even less. “The average is probably $500, but the drop from $500 to $150 is super quick,” said Nicholas Smilgys, who owns a Mendocino County-based distribution company.
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