Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Pot Business Is Very Competitive In Colorado

The only question is if its perfect competition or monopolistic competition. See The Pot Business Suffers Growing Pains by ANA CAMPOY of The Wall Street Journal. Excerpts:
"But it turns out that trying to make a profit in this business is harder than expected. When grown and sold legally, marijuana can be an expensive proposition, with high startup costs, a host of operational headaches and state regulations that a beet farmer could never imagine. In Colorado, for example, managers must submit to background checks that include revealing tattoos. The state also requires cameras in every room that has plants; Mr. Klug relies on 48 of them.

Prices for pot, meanwhile, have plummeted, in large part because of growing competition."

"A major drag on earnings for marijuana growers is the labor-intensive nature of the business. Payroll can make up more than a third of production costs, says Jason Katz, chief operating officer of Local Product of Colorado. Managing workers is challenging too, he adds, in an industry where many learned their trade by growing clandestinely. His company went through six growers in three years before one worked out. "They aren't used to being part of regular society," he says.

Costs and management issues aside, the biggest shock to most marijuana growers has been pot prices. As the industry becomes more competitive and there is more pot available, the price for a pound of high-quality weed in Denver has slid from $2,900 at the beginning of April in 2011 to $2,400 in the same period in 2012 to $2,000 this year, according to Roberto's MMJ List, a service that connects wholesale sellers and buyers. At the height of summer demand in 2011, a pound sold for as much as $3,900.

To be sure, some experts say it is possible to do well. Roberto Lopesino Seidita, who runs the price list and consults for the industry, says some growers are pulling in double-digit margins by focusing on price, not just quality. They have developed ways to produce large amounts of pot cheaply, and offer it at unbeatable prices, driving hundreds of customers through the door every day. "It's run like Wal-Mart, he says."

"Offering an assortment of marijuana varieties with different flavors and prices, Mr. Klug says, has been key to building a client base. In the wood-and-metal displays at one of his stores, Mr. Klug offers high-end strains such as Phantom OG for $70 a quarter ounce, and cheaper ones such as Andy's Blue Dream, at $50 a quarter ounce."

"His advice for anyone who wants to become rich by legally dealing pot: "Start with lots of money.""

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