Is Beer More Expensive Than Weed?
Have you ever woken up the morning after a night out, afraid to check your bank account because you really can’t remember how much you spent? Well that can’t really happen when you smoke weed. The herb is definitely more expensive than alcohol ounce-per-ounce, but which is the cheaper habit to keep? Is beer more expensive than weed?
How Much Does Your Average Night Out Cost?
Some cities are a lot more expensive than others, so it’s important to pay attention to where you live. A night out in Chicago will run you an average of $90, according to a study by Eventbrite, but only $29 dollars of it goes directly to alcohol.
To break that down, let’s figure out how much the average person drinks at the bar. For the sake of argument, we’ll put that at two beers an hour from 10PM to 2AM. To use round numbers, it costs an average of around $5 for domestic brews, $7 for imports, and roughly $10 for a cheap dinner. Let’s also account for grabbing an Uber/Lyft home, which we’ll assume is another $10.
That means if you stick with two Domestics an hour for four hours, grab some dinner sometime in the night and catch a ride home in the city you’re looking at spending roughly $40 – not including tax. That doesn’t sound so bad at all. Is it really more expensive than weed?
How Much Does 1/8th Cost, and How Long Will It Last?
How much an eighth costs really depends on where you live, so in this scenario we’ll use the average cost from a legal dispensary in Denver, Colorado – $37 before tax. An eighth is roughly 3.5 grams, which can last as long as week or as short as two or three days, depending on your personal habits.
A study from 2013 estimated that users in Washington consumed around 60 grams per year (1.1 grams per week), while a similar study in Colorado estimated closer to 100 grams per year (1.9 grams per week). Since the majority of the studies on cannabis consumption were conducted before it was legalized for recreational use, we have to take their numbers with a grain of salt.
But even if you look at the far end, and assume a consumption rate of 1-1.5 grams per day on the weekend, that still leaves us with an entire weekend’s worth of cannabis for the same price as a single evening out with alcohol. Adding those same averages for dinner and an Uber gives us a $38 tab, with enough herb left over for the following day.
Comparing the Two
On the surface, the two vices appear roughly comparable — but picking a clear winner isn’t that easy. We all know how social excursions go, and it’s hard to compare two different experiences.
Smoking weed does allow you to go about your day somewhat normally; though you’ll also find that you’ll want to eat more than before you smoked, so arguably you could tie in those food costs as well. Then there’s the argument that you don’t have to go out to the bars to buy and consume alcohol; then there’s the fact that an eighth will last you longer than one night. You could argue specifics all day and it’ll flip flop back and forth depending on which point is brought up.
In the end, the best answer is that neither is drastically worse than the other. With moderate consumption rates and a bit of common sense, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself no matter what, and the next time someone criticizes your habits you’ll have some hard numbers to point to.