Now that cannabis is legal across Canada and in many states, more people than ever are buying. But how do you budget weed?
Unlike alcohol which is purely a leisure purchase, cannabis can have medical or self-care purposes in your life.
Why I buy cannabis
Bridget and I have both talked before about the importance of including mental health in your budget. Cannabis, for me, is truly under that category. The restless nights can build until I’m unable to function at all. And obviously, this moves forward to affect my work, studies, and personal life.
We’ve said it before: the most important thing to invest in is yourself. I create my best work with a good night’s sleep under my belt. Call me what you will, but I will do what it takes to get my rest.
The fact that a doctor agreed that cannabis was a good option at one point is definitely validating, but even if you’re prescribed cannabis, I’ve never seen it covered in any health insurance plan. This means my purchases come straight from my pocket. Not surprisingly, money is by far the biggest obstacle when it comes to cannabis!
The cannabis budget
My budget for cannabis is a set $75/month – the highest of all areas of my budget, save rent. Although this might seem extreme, my budget for weed at the beginning of the school year was a shocking $150/month, even though I don’t use much less now than I did then.
How to budget weed
How to fit cannabis into your budget depends on how you consume and how often. Both of these things matter in keeping costs reasonable!
It turns out, putting a couple of simple steps into place ended up shaving half of my previous cannabis budget. I also have been smoking for years, which means I can assuredly tell you that none of the following tips altered the quality of my product or my high!
Change your cannabis intake method
If you’re still smoking joints, full stop! Any smoking method that requires consistent purchases (such as rolling paper!) is one you can probably leave behind. If you’re purchasing cannabis on a budget, you also want an intake method that gives you the most bang for you buck. Joints are popular, but also one of the least effective ways of inhaling cannabis!
Edibles, oils, and tea
People often talk about how edibles are the best way to get your THC, but there are some downsides to this method. Cannabis ingestants (anything eaten, rather than inhaled) usually take at least an hour to start taking effect, and these effects can last six hours or longer depending on the person.
For obvious reasons, this is a lot harder to plan for. If you’re like me and ingest cannabis before bedtime, chances are you’ll be asleep for most of the good part. Ingestants also tend to be more expensive! If for day use, perhaps this could save you a couple bucks. But it’s certainly not my favourite method.
Investing in a good cannabis pipe or bong
Pipes tend to hit the throat harder and can be less effective than a hit from a bong. But generally, either of these would be my top suggested intake method! Pipes are cheap, you can usually find one for $20 and they last years with proper maintenance.
If you smoke any more than once a week, I would suggest buying a bong. Mine was only $30! Find a local smoke shop and I guarantee you can find on for less than $40.
With regular cleaning, bongs last years. They are probably the most effective way of inhaling cannabis. Because of this, I typically need to use less flower to get the same high. This $30 is perhaps the best investment I’ve ever made!
Splurging on a vape
If you’re a frequent cannabis user or just like the finer things in life, a nice vape might be worth the spend. Many think of vapes only for concentrates, but there are plenty of dry flower vapes on the market that will give you a smooth hit of your favorite strain.
Vapes will range anywhere from $60 to $600 in price, so it might take a you a few months to save up for but it will be worth the wait. The Pax 3 is a particular favorite, as it accommodates both concentrates and dry flower, as well as comes in a selection of beautiful colors!
Set personal cannabis usage guidelines
I love lists. So much so that they tend to rear their head in every aspect of my life. I have a list of “house rules” hanging on my wall at home, two of which relating to cannabis.
The first rule is not to smoke before 8pm on weekdays. This is mainly to ensure that I’m using it how I should be! The other rule I have is to only use the “nice stuff” on the weekends.
The “nice stuff” in my situation is anything over $10. Typically, I buy the cheapest strain I can find in order to help me sleep. Anything fancier than that is strictly prohibited until Friday at 8pm! This, of course, gives me some slack on my cannabis budget.
Setting rules that restrict smoking to certain times, or even certain strains to certain times, has made a huge difference in how quickly I run through my stash. Not surprisingly, willpower has been my loyal companion when it comes to shrinking my cannabis spending habits!
Avoid buying online
Since legalization, Canadians have the option to buy cannabis from government-managed websites. In Ontario, this is the Ontario Cannabis Store.
People avoid these sites for reasons beyond defying authority, though! Government sites can have less options and a lot of products they sell are less effective (either through quality or THC and CBD levels).
Cannabis tends to be $9 to $15 per gram most everywhere unless you’re buying something fancy.
Although OCS offers a couple of $10 options, the shipping fees are really what kills me! Although a flat rate of $5, budget buyers tend to only pick up a couple grams at a time. The shipping fees consequentially pile up. Paying for shipping and then waiting days for a late package delivery just isn’t the best way to get your cannabis!
Most cities in Canada have independent cannabis vendors now. Although my closest vendor is an hour commute, I will always ride the train if it saves me a couple of bucks!
Claim cannabis on your taxes!
I saved this super helpful tip until the end only because it only applies if you’re prescribed for medical cannabis. However, you may be eligible for medication, even if you don’t realize it! Reasons for prescription cannabis include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Chronic pain
And that’s just to name a few. The CRA allows cannabis to be written off as a medical expense, as long as a receipt from a licensed vendor is provided. A Canadian would need to add up the total expense on cannabis, and then subtract either $2,268 or 3% of their total income, such is the standard with medical write-offs. Although not everything is covered, this could definitely save you a few bucks come tax season!
Us pot-smokers may have varying reasons, but it’s safe to say all of us would like to spend less on our indulgences. Hopefully, these tips help lead to a tighter cannabis budget!