Dealers are selling luxury cannabis strains with names like ‘Stardog’ and ‘Gelato’ for nearly three times the price of gold.
The astronomical rise in value for ‘connoisseur’ weeds has seen some exotic brands being sold for up to 2000 an ounce.
It means the price of some hybrid strains of weed now easily outstrips the cost of an ounce of 21 carat gold at just 700.
The lucrative trade has been driven by the legalisation of cannabis in some parts of the USA like California and Colorado.
The change in law there has spawned a number of cannabis-producing brands whose “artisanal” and much sought after products are advertised online but can only be bought legally in the USA.
Dealers in Birmingham are simply getting trusted contacts in the USA to post padded packages full of weed to dozens of secure addresses across the Midlands.
Cannabis is illegal to possess, supply or produce in the UK and was re-classified as a class B drug in 2009. The maximum penalty for possession is up to five years in jail and a fine.
One cannabis dealer, who did not want to be named, said he switched from selling cocaine to imported cannabis because it was more lucrative and “cleaner.”
“Some really specialist weeds I get sent from California I can sell for 80 or 90 a gram here which is what good cocaine sells for.
“The weed comes vacuum packed from a laboratory and the packaging tells you what strain it is, where it was grown and its exact THC content.”
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the mind altering ingredient found in cannabis. Normal skunk in the UK contains up to 15% THC while the USA strains can be up to 70%.
“It’s all about the consistency and potency of the weed that makes it so expensive.
“The people who grow it in the USA aren’t some gangsters using slave labour in a dirty flat somewhere.
“They are experts who love what they are doing and there is science and complex plant genetics backing it all up.”
He added that some of the more popular American cannabis brands were endorsed by celebrities and rappers including heavyweight legend Mike Tyson whose cannabis ranch in California is called the Tyson Cultivation School.
According to the latest British Crime Survey in 2017 about one in 15 people aged 16-59 in the West Midlands said they had taken cannabis in the last year.
Last year we told how a brand-new form of super-strength cannabis was hitting the UK.
Shatter, also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), is made by using large amounts of highly flammable butane gas.
That helps strip THC – the active ingredient in cannabis – out of the plant and leaves a glass-like extract that hardens to give the appearance of cooled caramel or honeycomb.
It is then broken up into small shards for users to smoke it as they would a cannabis plant.
Drug experts warn that shatter is more potent than cannabis in its traditional form.
They say it is up to 10 times stronger than normal cannabis and can cause long-lasting psychiatric problems.