Marijuana has been in the decriminalization process since 1973 with many states over the years passing laws to either authorize the use of marijuana or prohibit it. It is time to stop treating marijuana like a deadly drug, when science and public opinion agree that it is relatively safe for adult recreational and medical use. With recreational and medical marijuana on the verge of nationwide legalization, marijuana growers and dispensaries are popping up everywhere.
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On Sept. 6, Smith’s Craft Cannabis Alliance invited State Rep. Carl Wilson and hosted an event in Medford that explored the topic of interstate export and debated what that might look like in Oregon and in the U.S. in general. Wilson discussed how the state legislature might play a role in getting this ball rolling nationally. The way Smith describes it, legal cannabis exports from Oregon to states that use the same tracking software (like Ohio or Massachusetts) would relieve pressure on the Oregon market and would allow those other states to import high-quality flower and focus solely on retail regulations. It’s an industry overhaul, but it’s a move, he says, that would straighten out the nascent fragmentation of the domestic cannabis market.
Wilson and State Sen. Floyd Prozanski have both publicly supported calls for cannabis export policies. Neither lawmaker responded to CBT’s request for comments for this story.
“We have hundreds of millions of dollars of local capital here that’s on the verge of disappearing,” Smith says. “And, you know, some of that is … people who don’t know how to run businesses and they were going to go out of business anyway. But a lot of that is folks who are growing some of the best product in the world as efficiently as anyone—there’s just no real market for it here, right? You have, really, an economic calamity that’s happening in front of us.”
Smith paints a picture that distinguishes the legacy cannabis markets of northern California and Oregon from other states that are presently licensing large-scale indoor grow facilities—and at a slower rate that what the OLCC has done.
“We’re in this moment where you have the governor of New York turning around … and saying ‘OK, well, we’re definitely going to legalize, it’s only a matter of how,’” Smith says. “Well, ‘how’ can’t possibly be having New York set up a production industry larger than Oregon’s from scratch, right? In a place [where cannabis] doesn’t really grow, and having New Jersey do the same thing right next door … when you have the West Coast, where we have world-class product rotting on shelves that we can’t sell.”
Offering a comparison to many other national industries, Smith says that a post-prohibition domestic market would see states taxing and regulating retail sales of cannabis products grown and manufactured where it’s most economically feasible. “If the federal government really wants to limit the amount and is so concerned about oversupply,” Smith says, “why would you, through your policies, mandate creating more supply?”
With public events held across Oregon recently, Smith’s Craft Cannabis Alliance has helped push interstate commerce to the top of the industry’s political agenda. He’s hoping that this is recognized on a broader level, before too many small Oregon cannabis farms find themselves pushed out of the legal market. What it would take at first, he says, is legislation in Oregon to begin this process of allowing interstate cannabis exports. Then it becomes a national conversation, and the industry will look to other states for acceptance.
Mason Walker, CEO of East Fork Cultivars, says that this is one way of advancing the cause of national cannabis reform and supporting the state’s economy. (East Fork Cultivars co-hosted the Medford event on cannabis exports.)
“We’re definitely huge proponents of interstate sales,” he says. “I think it’s a no-brainer—a really good solution to our immediate issues with supply and demand imbalance in many states. Nevada has a massive quality cannabis shortage right now, and Oregon has an abundance. Just even matching those two states would be a boon for both.” (Nevada uses BioTrackTHC for its seed-to-sale tracking.)
Just by having these sorts of discussions now, Oregon finds itself at the vanguard of the interstate sales movement in the U.S. cannabis industry. For Walker, he returns to the same local economic talk that propels Smith’s arguments.
“It’s an inevitable future,” Walker says. “I think it’s just a matter of time until we see some movement on the federal level that either makes a clear path for states to legalize and allows them to do business with each other or just completely … makes a more clear path for legalization at the federal level.”
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.