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How Much Could You Save by Growing Your Own Marijuana?

For various reasons, opting to cultivate your own cannabis proves significantly more economical compared to purchasing it from dispensaries.

Over the past decade, numerous states have been progressively legalizing cannabis for either recreational or medicinal purposes. This trend is undoubtedly positive, right? Undeniably so. However, the complete picture is more nuanced. While it's certainly a favorable development that patients can access non-invasive and effective medical treatments for various ailments, and individuals are no longer facing legal repercussions, particularly considering the concerning racial disparities associated with law enforcement in this context, there's another side to this growing movement towards legalization in the United States.

The crux of the matter lies in the exorbitant cost of cannabis at dispensaries nationwide. Need a dose of uplifting news? There's a solution to this predicament, and it comes as a welcome respite in the midst of our economically challenging times. You have the option to cultivate your own cannabis, and doing so can result in substantial savings.

Continue reading to delve into the reasons why you might contemplate forgoing dispensaries and instead take control yourself—putting your green thumbs, or hands, to good use.

Economics Of Buying Cannabis From A Dispensary

As you'll soon discover in the upcoming sections of this article, if your primary concern revolves around price, the choice is clear: cultivating your own cannabis at home far outweighs the option of purchasing from a dispensary.

However, it's essential to arm yourself with comprehensive information before making an informed decision about engaging in cannabis cultivation.

A striking aspect of American cannabis dispensaries is the significant price disparity among them, largely influenced by their geographical location, specifically the state in which they operate.

Naturally, additional factors contribute to the elevated cost of cannabis, our cherished plant. For instance, in numerous states like Illinois, high taxes and a plethora of regulations are in place. In contrast, other states like Ohio have opted for a restricted licensing approach, leading to higher cannabis costs, shortages, extended waiting times, and the need for extensive intra-state travel to access products.

Without pinpointing states, it's evident that some regions might possess abundant cannabis and dispensaries but lack a crucial element: knowledgeable budtenders, which can also drive up costs.

Transitioning to more concrete data, let's examine the actual price of cannabis across the United States. Rather than listing individual state prices for an ounce, we'll provide enough data to highlight the substantial nationwide price differences.

According to the Detroit Free Press, purchasing an ounce from a Michigan dispensary costs between $242-$471. Meanwhile, based on the Dayton Daily News, the cost in Ohio ranges from $232 to $371 per ounce. Utilizing the community-driven platform introduces further variation, with reported prices including $336 in New York, $258 in California, and $210 in Oregon. The site's average for an ounce in the U.S. stands at $318.

Now, let's demystify the math behind cannabis prices. Using the U.S. average of $318 per ounce, we can explore the annual cost for an average user. According to USA Today, an average cannabis consumer consumes 3.5 ounces annually, resulting in a yearly expenditure of $1,113.

Yet, for those who consume more heavily—let's say twelve ounces per year—the cost from an average American dispensary amounts to a staggering $3,816.

In a final mathematical reflection, if we consider the expenses over a five-year period for this heavy cannabis user, the sum rockets to a jaw-dropping $19,080. This figure underscores the potential for significant savings through alternative means.

The Economics of Growing Your Own Cannabis

Similar to the variability in purchasing cannabis from dispensaries, there exists a significant range in the cost of cultivating your own cannabis at home.

However, in contrast to licenses, taxes, regulations, and supply being the key influencers of dispensary prices, a new set of factors comes into play for home growers. These variables, encompassing setup, cultivation style, plant genetics, total plant count, and local cannabis costs, can either elevate or diminish the expenses associated with cultivating your own cannabis.

Nonetheless, there are still general averages that can be employed to estimate the potential savings from embarking on cannabis cultivation. Before delving into the specifics, it's important to address a factor that might surprise prospective growers: the initial cost of setting up your cultivation space.

The encouraging news is that this setup expense can be kept under a thousand dollars. Even if your setup costs exceed this threshold, the average setup expenditure for growers typically ranges around $1600 for the first year, followed by an ongoing annual cost of about $400.

Now, let's delve into the particulars. It's time to dissect the precise costs of an average indoor cultivation setup. The average setup, inclusive of a tent or prepared area, lighting, timers, and fans, can cost anywhere from $400 to $1500, contingent on your specifications. You can opt for complete kits or assemble your components individually, keeping in mind that your setup is a one-time investment.

Anticipate spending approximately $60 to $320 annually on consumables like substrate and nutrients, the exact amount contingent on your chosen cultivation style. The most budget-friendly option is organic living soil, while soilless choices with tailored nutrients grant greater control over the growth process.

Allocating funds for seeds or cuttings, you should budget no more than $200 for three high-quality feminized seed varieties. Premium Feminized Seeds

Determining electricity costs is more challenging, given the variability in setup and location.

Now, let's address the query you might have: How much cannabis can you yield considering these costs?

Not to worry, we've got you covered. According to I Love Growing Marijuana, a small indoor grow in a tent yields around two to four ounces of cannabis per plant. If you maintain a separate area for a mother cannabis plant (remaining in a vegetative cycle), you can expect to harvest every three months. In essence, this means an average annual yield ranging from eight to sixteen ounces.

Recall that the average cost of an ounce in the United States is $318. With your home grow operation, you can obtain anywhere from two to sixteen ounces per year.

Translated into monetary value, that's a range of $636 to $5088 worth of cannabis.

Now, consider the example of an average cannabis user consuming 3.5 ounces annually. Purchasing this amount would cost $1113. After deducting the $1500 startup cost, the cultivation route would result in a loss of approximately $400—still more economical than dispensary purchases.

Imagine being a heavy cannabis user consuming twelve ounces per year. The dispensary expense amounts to $3816, while growing your own would yield a positive return of over $2000.

Now, for the devoted cannabis user's expenses over five years with dispensary purchases—$19,080 is a daunting figure.

The final bit of calculation: The projected home grow operation costs over five years sum up to $1500 (first year) + $400 (each subsequent year for four years) = $3100, resulting in a substantial advantage of $15,980 for cultivators.


You don't need to possess advanced mathematical skills to grasp the evident financial advantage that accompanies home cultivation. While the added effort associated with growing cannabis might not be everyone's cup of tea, for those of us who enjoy gardening or are keen on significant savings, the choice is straightforward: it's time to embark on our own cultivation journey!

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