A New State Bill Could Determine the Future of Oregon's Pot Industry – The Portland Mercury

Michael Getlin Blair Stenvick

Oregon has too much pot.

To be specific: According to a recent report from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the state’s legal cannabis inventory system currently has enough cannabis to last us six and a half years. There’s some debate among those in the industry as to whether that estimate is accurate, but there’s little question that the legal market is experiencing an oversupply problem.

A new bill in the Oregon State Legislature aims to alleviate that problem—and cement Oregon’s status as a pot industry leader—by changing state law to make exportation to other states legal.

“We have quite a supply of cannabis in the state right now,” said State Rep. Ken Helm (D), one of the bill’s chief sponsors, at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “It’s in our state’s interest to prevent the diversion of our product into the illegal market that is traded nationally and internationally.”

The bill, Senate Bill 582, would allow Oregon’s governor to enter into an exportation contract with governors of other states that border Oregon and have legalized recreational weed (currently, that means Washington, California, and Nevada).

If the bill passes this year, exportation wouldn’t start right away, as transporting cannabis across state lines is still against federal law. But advocates say it would put the state in an advantageous position when that federal law eventually changes.

Michael Getlin, director of the Oregon Industry Progress Association, says federal policy could change soon via a Department of Justice memo—perhaps even before the next full state legislative session in 2021. When that happens, states will be scrambling to set export regulations and figure out how to make their cannabis tracking systems work across state lines—but SB 582 would give Oregon a jump start on that process, Getlin said.


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