Home Growing Marijuana vs Buying at Dispensary

Part of the fun of growing my own marijuana is not only the joy of learning and partaking in a new hobby, but seeing if I can save money by growing an expensive product (especially when you factor in local and state taxes).

Introduction

One of the questions I had going into growing my own marijuana was, is it cheaper to grow your own or just simply purchase from a dispensary? To calculate this I totaled the costs of equipment and cannabis seeds (growing marijuana costs) and compared that to the amount and value of usable marijuana I grew.

A few things to note:

  • This comparison doesn’t take into account the amount of time it takes to grow marijauna (i.e. your own labor costs). Though, with my outdoor balcony  setup it didn’t take an exorbitant amount of time
  • Ended up growing 5 plants for this calculation even though legally in California I can grow up to 6 plants (which means I could have yielded more without spending more on equipment)
  • Of course if you are really craving weed there’s no substitute for just driving to the dispensary and buying some bud. The growing, drying and curing process took over 5 months

Growing Marijuana Costs

Below I’ve calculated the amount of money I spent in order to get my grow setup up and running. If you want to see exactly what equipment I purchased and why check out our post on Equipment for Growing Marijuana.

I separated the costs into 3 main categories: one-time costs, carryover grow-to-grow costs, and repeated grow batch costs.

The total amount spent for this first grow batch was $348.50.

One-Time Investment Costs

Costs that I only need to pay for once and can use multiple times for future grows.

  • Hangers for drying – $8
  • Watering Can – $6
  • Plant Saucers – $15
  • Fabric Pots (reusing) – $18
  • pH Meter – $40
  • Trowel – $10
  • Pruning Shears – $25
  • Trimming Shears – $7
  • Sprayer – $17
  • Seed Trays (for starting off grow) – $11
  • Jewelers Loupe (for inspecting leaves) – $10
  • Growing Bible Book – $38
  • TOTAL: $205

Carryover Grow-to-Grow Costs

Costs where you buy once and can use for several grows either since they come in bigger packs and can last or eventually will need to be replaced.

  • Nutrients – $35
  • Rockwool Cubes -$18
  • Disposable Gloves -$10
  • pH Down – $12
  • Spinosad Soap (for pests) – $19
  • TOTAL: $94

Repeated Costs Per Grow

Costs you have to pay each time you grow.

  • Soil (2 cubic feet) – $21
  • Autoflower Seeds (5 seeds) – $28.50
  • TOTAL: $49.50

Amount of Marijuana Grown

In California, where I live, you can grow up to 6 cannabis plants at a time. Even though that’s the case I ended up only growing 5 plants. One reason was I wasn’t sure how big the plants would get (my first time growing after all!) and if my apartment balcony could fit all these plants.

Total time to grow these plants took over 5 months. This includes germination, growing, harvesting, drying and curing the cannabis. Not the fastest process.

For the 5 plants they were named after Star Trek the Next Generation characters (more fun to have a theme with each grow batch). Below you can see the individual plant yields and what the approximate street value of the weed would be. To calculate the “street” value I used $11.88 per gram of “low quality” recreational marijuana purchased from a dispensary as referenced from this website (http://budzu.com/prices/usa/california/los-angeles)

Plant Yield at Harvest and Value

  • DATA: 1.06 oz (30 grams) / Value: $356.40
  • RIKER: 0.9 oz (25.5 grams) / Value: $302.94
  • WORF: 0.85 oz (24 grams) / Value $285.12
  • PICARD: 0.74 oz (21 grams) / Value: $249.48
  • CRUSHER: 0.63 oz (18 grams) / Value: $213.84
  • TOTAL: 4.18 oz (118.5 grams) / $1,407.78

Discussion on the Value of Growing Your Own Cannabis

Based on the costs vs how much you would spend on purchasing the same amount of cannabis it makes sense to grow your own.

To summarize:

  • Total Costs: $348.50
  • Total Value: $1,407.78
  • Net Amount: $1,059.28

On paper it’s clear growing your own weed will save you money. However, there are some caveats to this analysis:

  • Weed shelf life – Weed, unfortunately, does have a shelf life so if you don’t use it all you could lose it due to it going bad.
  • Growing location affects yield – If you don’t live in an area with a lot of sun, like southern California, you may need to switch to an indoor grow setup or have to wait another season to grow… so the amount you can grow and costs may vary
  • Quality of weed – As much as I would like to believe that my homegrown weed is of the highest quality, you have to be honest. I’m not a pro grower, I’m not monitoring all the nutrients, etc… the weed you get at the store is probably a lot higher quality.
  • Variable taxes – depending on where you live the amount that is taxed can vary greatly which can make growing your own weed more economical or less economical

Conclusion on Homegrown Weed vs Store-Bought Weed

If you go through a lot of weed then growing your own marijuana will save you lots of money. In addition, if you like knowing where your weed comes from and how it is grown you’ll be able to control all of those aspects.

One of the bonuses to growing your own as also how you can experiment with making your own edibles and other types of weed products. I have quite a bit and will be trying different ways to use cannabis.

If you are a casual cannabis user and do use a lot and don’t have the patience then you should stick with just buying it at your local dispensary.

As with any marijuana related be sure to check out your local state laws before you embark on your growing journey. Learn more about US states marijauna laws.

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