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Rethinking Oregon Cannabis

Where do we go from here?

The Oregon cannabis industry in 2022 is a world of pain. Sales are down 20% or more state-wide. Indoor growers, as we speak, are in their own race to the bottom and sun-grown farmers are straight-up f*#%ed. The next three years are expected to be a blood-bath, with major attrition.

Anyone who’s paying attention, knows the reasons for this. Closed borders, over-licensing, greed, insanity, and so on. The question is, where do we go from here? If we stand back and take a look objectively, what have we got? Admittedly, it’s hard to think about all the benefits to the soil when the forest above it is burning (and you’re caught in it). But let’s take a moment.

What do we know?

There is an industry to be had in Oregon.

We know there is an inherent demand, statewide for cannabis. Getting back to basics, it helps people. There is an industry to be had here. Southern Oregon has the finest soil and climate for growing cannabis on the entire planet.We have a culture steeped in cannabis production and use going back 50 years (if not a whole lot farther). In 2019 BC (Before Covid), we sold $793M worth of Cannabis and cannabis products. The demand is there.

Currently, it seems there are 2 competing industry models. The “we’ve got (had) $50M (150M?) in funding and 20 tier 2 licenses and 40 dispensaries” vs the “I love to grow amazing weed and should be able to make a living doing it / I’d love to open a little pot shop in my town.” The age old story, passion vs greed.

The main reason for all this current pain is obvious. We can’t (legally) send what we grow out of the state. And, the prevalence of model #1 from above ensures that we have too much (cheap, low-quality) product cycling around our borders and sales are backing off to pre-covid levels.

I have every faith that Oregon is smoking as much weed as it can! We just Can’t. Keep. Up.

Wherefore art thou, OLCC?

At this point, governments can't or won't help.

It pains me to say it, but without a few bold state governments that are willing to challenge the Federal stance, odds are good that this reality will not change anytime soon. So where does that leave us?

There is an industry to be had, but what will rise from the ashes? How can we, who are willing to bet our time and energy on the future, design an industry that will work? The OLCC, to its credit, seems willing to be a creative partner to the industry. They want to see this work, and understand, to some extent, how bad the current situation is for many folks out there. So if we come up with solutions, they’re more than willing to hear them. But we also should be able to come with a model that fits within the existing legislative framework.

So where go from here? Feel free to leave comments below.

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