AS MORE STATES PASS LEGALIZATION LEGISLATION, INTERSTATE COMMERCE WILL BE UNAVOIDABLE.
Unpacking the issue of exporting Oregon Cannabis to other states By now you’ve probably seen news stories about Oregon’s supposedly giant surplus of legal Cannabis in the state system. Part of the solution is a recent cap on Cannabis licenses in Oregon, designed to slow down the oversupply problem by preventing new producers from entering the market. This same bill will also block future expansion of new retail locations, which may or may not help reduce the surplus. Clearly, it’s a complicated issue. And capping licenses alone may not be enough to reduce the surplus. \ WE COVERED ANOTHER IMPORTANT SOLUTION IN OUR PREVIOUS ISSUE WHEN I INTERVIEWED ORCA REPRESENTATIVES LAST MONTH. They said one of their big priorities for 2019 is
the passage of SB 582. This bill, which was recently passed by the Oregon Senate on May 15th, will allow for the governor to enter into agreements with other states bordering Oregon, creating legal interstate Cannabis trade of tracked, compliant, and tested material via the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) - assuming it’s transported via non-federally regulated methods. SB 582 is an effort to help continue to insure Oregon is at the forefront
of legal Cannabis policy progression in the U.S. As more states pass legalization legislation, interstate commerce will be unavoidable. I commend ORCA and our representatives for making sure that Oregon is in a position to create the first interstate Cannabis-trading program. It will be vital to establishing Oregon’s nationwide brand as a producer of premium organic Cannabis. Eventually, more and more states would join this trading program as they pass their own legalization bills, allowing for both Oregon’s and these new states - which probably don’t have stable production of their own - legal Cannabis programs to synergize and be more successful than they could be as separate markets. This is slightly similar to the fruit and vegetable trade, where we allow certain states with the best climates to produce certain fruits, and trade them to the others who don’t or cannot produce them. Allowing for interstate Cannabis trade could be the saving grace for many cultivators in Oregon. A rise in demand with supply staying constant should lead to an increase in Cannabis prices - which might hurt Cannabis consumers - but will save many farms from failure! Keep in mind, Cannabis businesses cannot file for bankruptcy like any other business could, which adds another level of unnecessary pressure on farms! This combined with a license cap should hopefully create a more stable business climate for producers in Oregon - which will hopefully lead to higher quality products for Cannabis patients and consumers. One thing to consider with this bill would be that Washington and California could also be shipping Cannabis to Oregon. So there are many factors at play here. Matthew Meyers is In that situation, I worry that neither Washington nor a longtime Cannabis community member California have the same testing standards as Oregon. I would hope that there would at least be clear labeling, and Oregon Leaf contributor, hailing so that consumers always know when and where their from Hood River. Cannabis is coming from. Importing products isn’t all bad news though. As covered in these pages previously, I think that product diversity and competition is good for the Oregon consumer. It’s important to keep in mind that just because SB 582 passed the Senate, doesn’t mean that we will instantly see interstate canna-commerce. There are still many hurdles to remove, including passage through the Oregon House of Representatives and governor’s office. Not to mention, similar legislation passing in Washington and California to allow these agreements to be reciprocated. We can’t forget about the federal government’s reaction also, which seems to get harder to predict week by week. They would need to at least allow for, if not change their stance on interstate commerce, before it could be a reality. Regardless of what happens next, keep investing energy in empowering yourself either as a consumer, producer, or medical patient. There is still a long journey left for the Cannabis plant, and it will need your support, patience and love.
BY MATTHEW MEYERS FOR OREGON LEAF | PHOTO BY DANIEL BERMAN @BERMANPHOTOS
Our 2nd Annual Travel Issue special features stories and tips for Cannabis and travel from around the state and northwest!