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On the heels of a summer dominated by strong seasonal forces, Colorado’s marijuana wholesale market entered a key transition period this September. As market dynamics begin calibrating to the next cycle in the state’s supply chain, wholesalers remain vigilant of short-term price shifts, and - more importantly - of their implications for the broader market direction.

Flower Market Rebalances

Although recent developments in Colorado’s wholesale flower market offer a mixed bag of outcomes to individual wholesalers, they also present a welcome signal of a stabilizing and maturing local market.

Even as asking prices fell across the board this September, the persistent price disparity between medical and recreational flower prices appears to be easing. After diverging to alarmingly uneven price points in recent months, prices rounded out the month near historical normals.

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Prices for medical flower experienced the most significant decline as new product volume surged (+32%) at the fastest pace since May, bringing the average price down to the levels observed this time last year. Following months of scarce supplies and above-average prices, this sudden correction relieved pressure from buyers in the short-term, and helped eased concerns about the overall the health of the medical supply chain.

Trim Market Poised for Shift

While the market for medical and recreational flower appears to be showing early signs of stabilization, secondary segments of the wholesale market have yet to escape the volatility of recent months. Even as flower prices slumped, asking prices for wholesale trim rose for a third consecutive month in September.

 

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The sustained price appreciation in the trim market can be largely attributed to continued demand from extractors and infused product manufacturers for large quantities of product. A notable shift in the extract market, however, may signal that the steady rise in trim prices may be nearing an end.

 

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In response to a sharp increase in volume, asking prices for recreational extract retreated 7% from their peak in August, bringing an end to months of rallying prices. Rapidly accelerating extract volume has not only begun to weigh on wholesale prices, but has also renewed fears amongst producers of a looming supply glut in the market.

In light of the extract market’s tendency to overproduce when market conditions favor suppliers, it’s likely that ramped up production is responsible for tight supplies and elevated prices in the trim market. If extract prices continue to fall as a result of high volume, we can expect the market to react by adding slack to the trim market, followed by a subsequent fall in prices.

Market Prospects

As the heavy influence of summertime factors begins to wane, uncertainty will continue to weigh on the wholesale environment for licensed businesses in Colorado. During this sensitive period, market watchers will be keeping a close eye on short-term shifts for signs of new market paradigms. The cumulative effects of these emerging shifts will become increasingly clear in coming weeks, and with them, carry the potential to set the tone for the market through the end of the year.

About the Author

Erik is Cannabase’s resident number cruncher, data smasher, and penny pincher. An avid neck-pillow enthusiast, Erik spends his free time commuting to work, winning games of risk, and counting cash.

 

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