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Changes in Cannabis Prices and Market Shares 1994-97

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The average price of 1/8 of resin appears to have fallen by 1.5% - 2.5% throughout the UK since our 1994 study, except for "Black" and "other/unknown", which had greater regional variations. Black had risen by 11% in the Midlands and fallen 20% in East Anglia. Unknown hash had risen 11% in the South West, fallen 14% in Scotland. Both had increased their reported UK average price by around 1%, or 0.15.

The ounce prices of resin also became cheaper, by between 2.5% - 4.5%, except for "other/unknown" hash which went up 15% in Scotland, and down 18% in the North East. Almost certainly, these prices will not all refer to the same type of cannabis. The UK average for "other/ unknown" had risen by 6.32%, or 5.72 per ounce.

The national mean price of 1/8oz herbal cannabis had also fallen, except for Thai bush and homegrown. The differences between regions were statistically significant. African bush rose 16% in the South East, fell 9% in the South West and Yorkshire/ Humberside. Caribbean bush had risen 34% in Yorkshire/Humberside, fallen 27% in the North West. Skunk had fallen 18% in Scotland, risen 5% in the South East. "Other/ unknown" bush had fallen by 30% in the North East, risen by 2% in the South East. These variations were up to 6 per 1/8oz, but the national changes were +0.20 to -1.51.

Ounce prices of herbal cannabis were all lower than in 1994 except for homegrown. There were substantial regional differences.

Homegrown was the only kind of cannabis which increased in price substantially, by 8.13% per 1/8oz and 18.21% per ounce. Although it went down 90% per ounce in Wales, it rose a whopping 239% per 1/8oz in Yorkshire/Humberside - 5.68. These figures probably represent changes in the number of people paying for it rather than a major price change. Differences in quality would also make a difference in whether it was sold at all, and if so at what price. There is no information on whether the homegrown which was sold was being grown in the same regions.

The mean price change for all varieties and quantities of cannabis was greatest in Yorkshire/ Humberside, where it had risen 9.01%, least in London where it had risen 0.21%. Overall prices in the North East fell the most, by 7.51%.

The UK average change was a price fall of 1.36%.

Compared with the Retail Price Index cannabis has seen a significant drop in cost in real terms. The "All Items" index rose from 141.3 to 154.4, alcoholic drink from 156.9 to 171.1, and the "Leisure Goods" index from 121.7 to 123.5, between January 1994 and January 1997.

This fall in average prices is likely to represent a greater proportion of respondents buying cheaper deals rather than a general price cut; however, this drop represented only a few pennies per gram, and to consumers might mean a 50p or 1 difference on some deals. (Tables 16 & 17)


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