Bakersfield Police Department is reporting they have seized over three tons of marijuana. It is alleged that two Hispanic men driving a U-Haul truck ran a red light. After smelling marijuana, the two officers brought in a K-9 unit. When the dog alerted, officers cut the lock and found 252 bales of marijuana weighing in at 6,732 pounds.
According to the cops, they just pulled $76.4 million in weed off the streets. Now, we pull out our handy calculator and divide $76,400,000 by 6,732 and we get… no, that can’t be right. That would be $11,348 a pound! Or over $709 an ounce!
PriceofWeed.com says a “high quality” ounce in California goes for $245. WeedMaps.com shows me an ounce of Blackberry Kush going for $300 in Venice Beach dispensaries. HIGH TIMES Trans-High Market Quotations for June finds the most expensive strain, AFGooey, going for $400. What’s going on -- did Bakersfield cops just find super special marijuana grown in sacred fields, harvested by virgins, and packaged in gold plated boxes?
William Breathes at TokeOfTheTown called up the Bakersfield PD, which stood by its original estimate. By their calculations, the street price of marijuana is $24 per gram. There are over three million grams in 6,732 pounds of weed and that multiplies out to $76.4 million, as if these guys were allegedly delivering over three tons of weed to sell one gram at a time.
Even that $24 gram price they begin with is suspect. While a premium bud like Durban Poison might go for $25 a gram at a dispensary, even there you get it for $60 an eighth (3.5 grams). A standard sativa like a Silver Haze will fetch only $8 a gram or $25 an eighth. I’ve seen the pictures of those 252 bales cops seized and I highly doubt it’s premium bud.
I imagine the cops would say, “Yeah, that’s dispensary price, not street price,” but aren’t they the ones always telling us anyone who wants a medical recommendation in California can get one? If it’s so easy to get into a dispensary, then that is the street price. At $300 an ounce retail prices, you seized $32.3 million worth of pot, not $76.4 million. At $1,500 a pound wholesale prices, you seized just a shade over $10 million.
This kind of accounting -- using the smallest unit price to calculate the largest bulk value -- only works when we’re busted for marijuana violations. When cops are busted for illegal marijuana seizures and forced to pay back victims, wouldn’t you know it, marijuana is worth far less than $700 an ounce.
For instance, two dispensaries in Vallejo were illegally raided by police. Cops there had to return what was called “$200,000 worth” of marijuana that turned out to be 60 pounds of dried bud, boxes of marijuana infused edibles, and hundreds of dead plants. If we only consider the 60 pounds of bud, at “$200,000 worth” that’s just $208 per ounce.
In Pasadena, cops were ordered to return “$8,000 worth” of medical marijuana to a man on probation. It was reportedly 25 ounces, so that works out to $320 per ounce.
Associated Press recently reported on the phenomenon of people suing police to get their marijuana returned. In Colorado Springs, a cancer patient sued over 55 seized plants, worth an estimated $300,000 -- that’s $5,454 per plant. A dispensary owner sued for $3.3 million over her 604 pot plants -- that’s $5,463 per plant.
But if we do the cop math, a well-tended marijuana plant can produce two pounds of bud. (I know outdoor growers who can get ten pounds, but let’s stick with two for now.) Given Bakersfield PD’s estimate of $11,348 per pound, it seems to me the Colorado man is owed $1.2 million and the dispensary owner is owed $13.7 million.
Just wait. The next medical marijuana patient in California who loses cannabis to an illegal police seizure should hire a clever lawyer who’ll make those cops stick to their $709 per ounce estimate.