It’s like a secret society that’s only missing a secret handshake.
Cannabis connoisseurs and long-time stoners share a language that can sometimes be difficult to decipher: kind bud and schwag, one-hitters and dab rigs shatter and bubble hash, carb caps, and sploofs.
The one thing that you’d think would be easy for a newbie to master is measurements.
We commonly measure things in ounces and pounds, and while the metric system isn’t used often in America, we’ve heard about grams.
But just when you’ve gotten your arms around the difference between grams and ounces, quarter-ounces and quarter-pounds, a buddy — or a dealer — rolls out a term you’ve never heard before.
“Hey, I’ve got a zip of weed.”
Arrrgh. It never ends.
No worries. We’ve got you covered. Let’s talk about how much a zip of weed is, and what it might cost.
Measuring The Weight of your Weed
For some reason, the universally-accepted way to measure weed in America starts with a gram and ends with ounces and pounds.
That’s probably because they’re easy to understand. A gram of flower, enough to roll a joint or two, is only 0.035 ounces — and it would be awkward to measure cannabis in increments of 0.035 ounces. On the other hand, a pound equals 453.59 grams, which is an equally-awkward unit of measurement. A pound is simple, and everyone knows what it is.
The system may seem odd, but you get used to it.
So here’s the hierarchy, starting with the smallest amount that most dealers or dispensaries will sell. You start with a gram of weed, which is followed by an eighth of an ounce (usually called an eighth, weighing about 3.5 grams), a quarter-ounce (called a quarter, about 7 grams), a half-ounce (called a half, weighing 14 grams), and an ounce.
After that, the common measurements switch from ounces to pounds: a quarter-pound (QP), half-pound, and pound. Notice the distinction between a quarter and a quarter-pound; the first may cost you less than 100 bucks, while the latter may run you well over a thousand dollars.
If those numbers seem out of whack, remember that cannabis is very much a business — even though it’s still illegal in some states. You get a better deal when you buy in bulk.
Also be aware that prices vary widely, depending on where you’re located, whether weed is legal or illegal there, whether you’re buying from a dealer or dispensary, and the quality of flower you’re purchasing.
OK, so that’s the conventional way of weighing, measuring, and buying weed. What’s a “zip of weed” all about?
Not too long ago, there were no dispensaries or licensed marijuana growers. (Obviously, there still aren’t any in some states.)
That means traditional weed vocabulary and slang are very much products of the streets. So some terms you’ll hear tossed around, like dime bags and zips, seem to make no sense in business terms.
The Weight of a Zip of Weed
A zip of weed is the easiest to explain: it’s an ounce.
No one’s sure where the slang name for an ounce came from, but two possibilities make sense.
- The abbreviation for ounce is “oz” — and the “z” in “oz” may have led people to call an ounce a zip.
- Ounces of weed have commonly been packed in a baggie — and the “z” may have been adopted from the term “Ziploc bag.”
Either way, the slang word “zip” stuck and people have been using it to refer to an ounce for more than 20 years. It’s commonly mentioned in rap songs, with the most obvious reference in “Get That Zip Off” by Wiz Khalifa: “28 grams in a Ziploc, it ain’t nothing to get that zip off.”
So zip makes sense. What about a “dime bag?”
Dime and Nickel Bags
Way back in the day, dealers offered inexpensive dime bags of weed to their customers. The bags were named for their price in street slang: a “dime,” or more accurately ten dollars (not ten cents).
At the time, the price of a gram of flower was right around $10, so a dime bag usually contained right around a gram of weed. The same approach was used to refer to smaller amounts; a nickel bag contained about half a gram and sold for $5.
Weed prices don’t stay static, though. Today you probably aren’t going to be able to buy a gram for $10, so the term “dime bag” isn’t as common as it used to be. If you hear it now, chances are you’ll be paying $10 for less than a gram — or paying more than $10 for a full gram.
That leaves one more old-school term: a dub of weed. It was used to refer to a price of $20 for two grams of flower because $20 is double the price of a dime bag. If you hear it today, it will probably refer to two grams, not an actual price of twenty dollars.
How Much a Zip of Weed Will Cost You?
This may be the question you had in mind when asking “How much is a zip of weed?” Sorry, but there’s no definitive answer.
As we’ve mentioned, the price of a pot varies widely depending on its quality, where you’re buying it, and who you’re buying it from. Market fluctuations are considerations as well.
However, here are some examples of recent prices for an ounce of weed, courtesy of the High Times. 
This pioneer in marijuana legalization is the place to shop for a zip of weed.
The average price of an ounce of medium-to-high quality bud in Colorado is slightly north of $200. If you’re willing to take weed mids instead (literally middle-of-the-road, but usually lower quality than that), you may end up paying as little as $160 per ounce.
Prices in Oregon are similar.
You’ll pay more for a zip of weed in this other “pioneer” state, thanks to high taxes.
Medium-to-high quality flower averages around $230 in California, but for top-shelf strains, you may end up paying more than $300 per ounce.
Going up! The price for a single zip is markedly higher in the Sunshine State.
Expect to pay more than $260 per ounce for medium-quality bud in Florida, and as much as $400 for a zip of top-shelf weed.
Despite New York State’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana, the cost of “recreating” remains high.
The high-quality stuff will cost you about the same $400 as you’d pay in Florida, but even a zip of medium-quality weed will set you back a little more than $300.
How Much is a Zip of Weed: FAQ
Q: Doesn’t it make more sense to buy a QP than a zip of weed?
A: Sure, it’s cheaper to buy in bigger quantities — if you can afford a QP, and if you can buy that much where you live. Here’s the problem: most dispensaries in states with legal weed don’t allow you to buy a quarter-pound at a time, so you’ll probably have to find a street dealer to buy a QP; the legal limit is an ounce in most states. Not all states allow even medical marijuana patients to possess that much, and it’s only legal for recreational users in Alaska (and just in their home, not on their person). In California, registered patients can purchase a half-pound per day, but that’s the most lenient state for weed purchases.
Q: How long will a zip of weed last?
A: It depends on how heavy a smoker you are. You should be able to get about 80 bowls or 40-50 joints out of it. How long it takes for you to consume that much will determine when you’ll have to call your dealer or visit a dispensary again.