Oregon Is Too Good at Growing Pot

There's too much of it to go around, and small operations are suffering
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2018 10:30 AM CDT
The owner of marijuana dispensary Track Town Collective in Eugene, Ore., is seen on Nov. 29, 2017.   (Brian Davies/The Register-Guard via AP)
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(Newser) – There's never been a better time to buy weed in Oregon, or a worse time to be a small grower or dispensary owner. Across the state, marijuana dispensaries have slashed weed prices in half to $700 per pound, or about $4 or $5 per gram, simply to get the stuff off shelves, and some are still struggling. The problem, reports the Willamette Week, is there are too many recreational cannabis growers—963 as of this month, with another 910 awaiting approval by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission—who are too good at their jobs. Last year, Oregon growers produced 1.1 million pounds of cannabis flower, three times what was consumed. As a result, a man who invested $250,000 in an indoor marijuana farm, dreaming of returns of $1,500 per pound, was forced to sell his bud at an auction. Buyer's price: $100 per pound.

"Currently, we're operating at a $15,000-per-month loss," the man says. It's a trend seen across the state, leaving small growers with few options. They can cut their losses (a federal ban on weed means bankruptcy is out of the question), sell to out-of-state investors or large operations, or sell their product illegally across state lines. Two dozen people in the industry told the Week that legalizing such sales would solve everything. Others believe the OLCC should limit grower licenses—it says it doesn't have that authority—or crop size. A third option is to let commercialism do its thing. That's not the choice of Oregon's top federal prosecutor, though. "We have an identifiable and formidable marijuana overproduction and diversion problem" and "we're going to do something about it," US Attorney Billy Williams said earlier this year, per the AP. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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