Im interested in cannabis quality and cannabis prices, I write my thoughts here on this website.

I’m particularly interested in the argument between illegal and legal cannabis; which is better quality, what costs less. And this is my best slug at the discussion.


This write-up summarizes the price data points I’ve collected since starting this website September 2018, separated by market or vendor type.


I choose what is to be reviewed on this website and I buy it all myself. To write this post properly, I should have done an even amount of reviews of illegal and legal cannabis.

Let’s see how I did.

Not great. Shoulda done about 100 less of one and 100 more of the other. 

Let’s check how these counts look when I break out the package size.

Again, not great. Some package sizes give better comparisons than others, none are really any good.

Still, we move forward.


Let’s back up and look at price averages for the two groups. Said again, we’re looking at the average price for any gram purchased, regardless of package size.

I’m breaking out the markets, regardless of sample size.

The illegal cannabis I purchased was less expensive on average.

Now, let’s break the averages down by package size.

Alright. Now, I’ll show the difference in averages by package size for both markets. 

Cool. Now you can’t apply these figures outside this data set. But, I can turn inwards and answer a few questions I have, with respect to my purchases in the two markets:

  • If all the cannabis I purchased was illegal, how much would I have saved?
    • Answer: ~$500
  • With respect to good quality, where was the best place to spend my money?
    • How much money was spent on sub-quality cannabis?
      • Answer: >80% 😭

Right-o. To do the first question, I am going to state the total cost of the cannabis reviewed.

Then I am going to multiply all the legal purchases by the discounted (illicit) averages I found. Then I will compare to the original cost I stated.

Alright, let’s state the costs, first summed, then broken down.

I do this each tax year, and whenever I do, I always feel like a dumb-ass. And now you’re reading this, I’m just glad I have the company this time.

At the time of writing, my legal expenditure is about $3,600. Let’s see how the sum changes when I apply the discounts.

Hope you don’t mind, I’m running these calculations without keeping the granularity in the package sizes, just taking the average across.

Here’s the legal total with the price difference observed in the illicit data:

So, at the time of writing, if I had gotten the illicit prices for my legal cannabis, I would saved about $500; or half the recipe for what Snoop Doggy Dogg considered fun in ’97.

From my personal purchase data, we’re looking at a 13% difference, that you might as just round up to 15%. 

Now for the other part of the story, the quality.


For every whole flower product I review, I mark the olfaction, visuals and feel with a good/neutral/bad rating. So let’s look at counts between the markets within the qualitative segments. And we’ll set the bar high, counting just those that were ‘good’ in each category; setting the sum against all reviews.

Right, so, being strict about quality, I’m passing about 40% about what I see from illicit vendors. From a legal vendor, I’m passing about 8%. A factor of 5 separates the two.

Cool, now what I’m going to do is apply these averages against the total costs for each group. And we’ll look at the the total cost of the quality stuff against the total spent for each market.


With respect to my purchase history, I found the price difference between markets to be about 15%. I found good quality cannabis at an illegal vendor 5x more often than I did at a legal vendor.

Over 56 illicit purchases and 216 legal purchases (totalling $4,534CAD), I spent about $550 on illicit cannabis that I felt was standard quality or below, and $3350 on legal cannabis that I felt was standard quality or below.

I spent $344 and $283 on illicit and legal cannabis (respective) that received top marks across all qualitative categories (olfaction, visuals and feel), or 39% and 8% of total expenditure for illicit and legal cannabis (respective).

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