A guide to weed weights
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- Breakdown of weed measurements
- How to make sure you’re getting what you pay for
- Want to learn more?
Gram. Eighth. Quarter. Half. Ounce.
If you’re not familiar with how cannabis is weighed, measured, and sold, all of those terms can feel like a huge question mark. It’s clear they’re units of measurement for weed — but what exactly do they all mean?
Breakdown of weed measurements
Let’s start with the smallest unit of measurement and work our way up.
A gram is defined as “metric unit of mass equal to one-thousandth of a kilogram.” A gram is a small unit of measurement, which makes it a solid choice for cannabis consumers who don’t want to purchase weed in small amounts. For example, if they’re looking to try a new strain or don’t consume cannabis frequently.
The rest of the units of measurement for cannabis have to do with ounces — either in full or a fraction.
An eighth is an eighth of an ounce — or 3 .5 grams of weed. The eighth is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, weight to sell cannabis. For many people, an eighth of weed is the perfect amount; it’s enough to feel like you have plenty of weed at your disposal, but not so much that you feel like you have too much weed and not enough time to consume it.
The eighth, 3 .5 grams of weed, is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, weight to sell cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The next unit of measurement is a quarter. A quarter refers to a quarter of an ounce, and it weighs approximately 7 grams. Technically, a quarter weighs 7.0874 grams, but the industry standard is to round down to the nearest gram.
A quarter refers to a quarter of an ounce, and it weighs approximately 7 grams. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A half is a half-ounce of weed, which weighs 14 grams.
And a full ounce? An ounce weighs 28 grams.
When you’re purchasing weed in a dispensary, typically, the highest volume you can buy at any one time caps out at an ounce. But people who work within the cannabis industry, such as buyers and dispensary owners, can buy in larger quantities — including pounds and kilograms. One pound is made up of 16 ounces — which weighs in at a truly impressive 448 grams.
Here’s a quick reference chart of how weed is measured — and how much each measurement weighs in grams:
- 1 eighth = ⅛-ounce = 3.5 grams
- 1 quarter = ¼-ounce = 7 grams
- 1 half = ½-ounce = 14 grams
- 1 ounce = 28 grams
- 1 pound = 16 ounces = 448 grams
How to make sure you’re getting what you pay for
When you purchase weed at the dispensary — whether you’re getting a single gram to test out a new grower or investing in a full ounce of your go-to strain — you want to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. And the only way to know for sure that your cannabis is the proper weight is to weigh it.
Your budtender should weigh out your cannabis in clear view; this way, you can see exactly how many grams are being weighed out. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Your budtender should weigh out your cannabis in clear view; this way, you can see exactly how many grams are being weighed out — and how that corresponds to how much you asked for. If you get to the dispensary and can’t remember the gram conversions, just ask your budtender; he or she will be able to tell you how many grams are in an eighth, quarter, half, or ounce — and then can weigh out your weed to show you that the cannabis you’re taking home is the accurate weight.
In some states with adult-use cannabis laws, flower is required to come pre-packaged and was measured prior to arriving to the dispensary. If you still want to ensure that its the weight indicated on the packaged, you can weigh the flower with a scale at home.
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Want to explore more about weed measurements and weights? Check out these articles:A guide to weed weights Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Breakdown of weed measurements How to make sure you’re getting what you pay for
What’s the weed worth? How police estimate the value of seized drugs
It was the price of the weed that intrigued readers: On Monday, PennLive reported the seizure in York County of 247 pounds of marijuana.
Beyond announcing the arrest of three California men — one of them a sheriff’s deputy — in the bust, the York County District Attorney estimated the value of the seized drugs to be in excess of $2 million.
A lot of readers thought the math didn’t add up.
Wrote one reader:
There is no way that 247 lbs is worth anywhere near ($2) million dollars. Weed costs about $50 per eighth-ounce on the street. If you split that 247 lbs into 31,616 individual units and sold them for $50 each you’d only have $1.58 million. $750,000 tops in its bulk form. You’d only break $2 million if you could sell all of it in tiny individual units and also overcharge everyone by about 25%.
Law enforcement authorities in York County put the estimated value of the 247 pounds of marijuana seized last week in Hanover in excess of $2 million.
Patrick J. Trainor, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Philadelphia office, could not disagree, but he argued that not all marijuana is the same.
The domestically grown variety tends to be . well not very good, he said. Some of the extremely high-grade stuff — like the super high-octane product coming out of Canada, for instance – can fetch upwards of $5,000 to $7,000 a pound.
“But several million does sound somewhat inflated,” Trainor said.
Trainor laid out several reasons why District Attorney Tom Kearney’s estimated value may not be excessive. PennLive put a call out to Kearney’s office but was told he was unavailable for comment.
For starters, law enforcement agencies generally assign a retail as well as a street distribution value to seized marijuana, Trainor notes. And while both in the end are correct, they usually report the retail value.
A pure, high-grade cannabis can fetch as much as $5,000-6,000 a pound at the retail level. Drug traffickers — just like any other line of business, Trainor said — make their most money not at the wholesale but the retail. And law enforcement, more often than not, like to report the estimated retail value of the seized cannabis.
“It is entirely possible to take a pound of marijuana and cut that up into nickle bags or dime bags and what we would call a nick traditionally used to sell for $5 to $10 if low grade,” Trainor said. “If it’s high grade, the same bag could retail for $100. You could increase your profit margin by literally 200 percent.”
Then there’s the weed’s place of origin.
The York County Drug Task Force with the help of and police agencies from the region last week seized 247 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop. Three men, including a sheriff’s deputy from California, have been charged in connection to the seizure. All three posted $1 million bail each. (Ivey DeJesus/PennLive)
Trainor uses the cultured pearls analogy to explain that one: If you want to buy cultured pearls, you are going to get them a lot cheaper in Tahiti than you would in the U.S.
“You are paying premium for those cultured pearls to be cleaned, packaged and delivered to Tiffany’s in Center City or New York. It’s the same thing with drugs,” Trainor said.
The marketplace – or location of sale – will also affect the value of the substance.
Marijuana, Trainor explains, has a significantly higher street value in a place like York County than it would in a large urban center, such as Philadelphia or New York.
“We see a difference in value between Philadelphia and Allentown,” Trainor said. “Speaking from a Philadelphia perspective, you could go to Bucks or Montgomery or Delaware counties and pay more for it there. It’s going to be the same in York County. It’s going to be much more.”
At Monday’s press conference, Kearney declined to provide detail information about the drub, saying the information was part of the ongoing investigation.
Remember that old Cheech and Chong movie. ‘the bigger the bust, the bigger the boost?’ Turns out advocates for the legalization of marijuana are still using that argument.
Cops, they say, like to inflate the value of the seized drugs because it makes them look good.
“They like to hold them out as achievement later to move further up the chain,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (or NORML).
Almost all — 98 percent — of marijuana arrests in this country happen at the local level, he said. The federal government makes few arrests, he said. Moreover, local departments benefit from millions of federal dollars available through programs such as the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program, which St. Pierre describes as a “slush fund” for local law enforcement.
“The general criteria needed is how many busts you make,” he said. “The higher the bust and value, the greater the calculus for local and state police getting a percentage of massive federal grant programs. Local police are really incentivized to do this.”
Advocacy groups like NORML have for decades made inflated estimates a point of contention, and the fact, that, they say, when it comes to prosecuting marijuana cases, police and attorneys lean toward the higher estimated street values and higher weights.
“From a PR point of view it benefits law enforcement, in their view, to put a high dollar value on drugs or contraband,” St. Pierre said. “It’s a notch on their belt in terms of them being able to say ‘we stopped X or Y amount of drugs going from point A to point B or we were able to keep X amount of drugs from your children. specifically your children!”
The fact that fresh — or wet — marijuana weighs more than the dry variety is not lost on police and courts. The drug has a significant drop in weight over a short time.
And while possessing any amount of marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania, the greater the weight, the greater the potential sentence defendants face.
“When the brass tacks are exposed, it’s really important from a defense point of view to be able to establish the lowest possible weight,” St. Pierre said. “It’s the weight that largely is the determining factor — not the value. That’s the PR. It’s the weight of marijuana along with prior offenses or guns involved..generally speaking the more weight the greater the punishment. Police very often inflate the value of marijuana.”
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