There is a lot of talk recently about the price of cannabis from dispensaries and online against the cost of buying weed from the street. It has been said that in Canada and other places that cannabis from a legal source is now almost double than that bought illegally.

Is it true that illegal cannabis is starting to look like the better option financially, and if so is that the best way to purchase your product? Is the picture a little more complicated than this, and might there be many other factors to consider other than price? 


Is it true that dispensary cannabis costs more?

Cannabis from dispensaries and from legal online sources has more often than not cost more than street-bought weed. There have certainly been fluctuations such as during the pandemic when street dealers doubled and even tripled their prices in some countries.

In January 2020 Statistics Canada reported that legal weed was now double the price of illegal cannabis. The cost of high-quality cannabis across the States differs quite dramatically. The average price is $319 an ounce but in Montana, it is around $266, while in the District of Columbia the price is a whopping $591.

What are the reasons then that legal weed is expensive compared to illegal, and is it worth paying that extra? 

Why is legal cannabis more expensive than street dealt weed?

Firstly, when weed became legal in many states it started to affect the street dealer’s business. So the street dealers dropped the price to help retain customers. 

There are other causes though including these:

  • Supply and demand
  • State taxes
  • Weight of purchase limited at dispensaries
  • Bulking up/lacing of street cannabis
  • Poor quality
  • Overheads

Legal weed is subject to many things that street dealers don’t have to worry about. A dispensary will have to pay taxes, rent, utilities, and staff wages. Prices are not easy to change as they will be determined partly by the price from the suppliers. Dispensaries are only allowed to sell a certain amount to each customer thereby limiting discounts that street dealers can by bulk sales. 

Why it is still better to buy legally

Many consumers looking at the price difference would be asking themselves why they should still buy their product legally. The main reasons are safety, health, legality, and convenience. 

Consumer safety and health

Even though the legality of cannabis now means consumers can enjoy weed more freely, the companies and dispensaries bringing it to you still need to comply with many laws. For instance, they can face heavy fines simply for not labeling cannabis products properly. While this may not seem so interesting to you, it is proof of dispensary cannabis yet again being safer than street-bought weed.

Dealers are well known to bulk up their weed by spraying it with other agents. These may or may not be harmful to your health but they almost certainly weren’t made to be ingested through your lungs. Also, this means that the weight you paid for is not the weight you receive.

You will almost certainly know that many street drugs are laced with a variety of other products to bulk up the weight. Some of these can be extremely addictive and lethal such as fentanyl. While marijuana is not usually laced, poor product has been known to be adulterated to make it seem more potent. Other habits such as smoking ‘wet’ cannabis can lead to respiratory failure. The point being is that you are oblivious to what you are buying when you use a street dealer. 


It might seem strange to mention convenience when mentioning legal ways to buy weed. Covid has not only forced many dispensaries to close during lockdowns but even put legislation on hold during the pandemic. However, it is possible to use an online dispensary to purchase cannabis.

This means you can order when you like, ahead of time, and have it delivered discreetly. Not only do you have the benefit of buying unadulterated cannabis safely but you might get special offers or be eligible for loyal customer discounts in an online dispensary.


When someone drops the price it affects their profit and no one wants to willingly do this. Street dealers are the same. If it is cheaper to purchase cannabis on the street then there are reasons for this. Of course; taxes and overheads affect legal sources but the quality of the weed is also a factor.


Dealers can sell poor quality, bulked-up weed (in bigger amounts than dispensaries) for lower prices. Dispensaries will list the amounts of THC and CBD, in short you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase legally. How was the street-bought weed cultivated? Were pesticides used, and exactly what are you smoking?


The bottom line is whether you feel it is worth it to spend the extra cash for a product you know to be safe, the weight you asked for, and without any legal issues that could come from a street deal.