While wholesale prices have been unstable, the market for marijuana in Alaska has experienced steady growth
Numbers from the Marijuana Policy Group and New Frontier Data group are painting a bright picture for the marijuana industry in Alaska.
Legal sales were approved by voters in 2014, and sales began in 2016. At the time, growers were selling product to retailers for as much as $14 per gram, but introductory demand cooled- and in the following years, the average price per gram continued to fall.
Now in 2019, data suggests that the statewide average price per gram of marijuana will experience an increase for the first time since legal sales began. At $9 dollars per gram, Alaska's pot retailers are still missing the prices that the early days of legal sales commanded; however, the fluctuating prices have not slowed the steady growth of the State's overall market size.
Alaska Marijuana Industry Association Executive Director Cary Carrigan says prices have been approaching the floor for some time now. He believes they will stabilize as the market matures, allowing growers and regulators to know what to expect.
"Prices were unsustainable in the first place," he told KTUU. "When they first came on, I heard a lot of feedback about how high they were."
With the average price per gram predicted to increase in 2020, Carrigan says it could be an indicator that the market is beginning to find its equilibrium.
"The fact that revenue continues to go up, I think, speaks to the educational job that growers and retailers are doing," he said. "These are all still floating targets. When you ask 'Where is it going? Why is it going there? Wow is it doing it?' ... Everybody is scratching their heads, even the economists."
Carrigan also believes that removing the influence of illegal sales of marijuana on the black market will greatly benefit the industry in Alaska.
"If we can start to get that under control, I think prices will stabilize and I think they'll be a little higher," Carrigan said. "I know it's going up now, I know prices are starting to climb, but I think we are going to be a little insulated from that - and we can also help our selves by getting out of the black market paradigm."