Oregon’s Legislative 2022 Session Will Only Increase Illegal Cannabis Activity and Organized Crime

Oregon’s Legislative 2022 Session Will Only Increase Illegal Cannabis Activity and Organized Crime
CANNANNEW REPORT

Oregon’s legislative 2022 session ended with several bills impacting Oregon’s hemp and marijuana industries. While issues of organized crime and “cartels” in southern Oregon dominated legislative testimony, bills passed this session do nothing to solve the problem and will only make things worse. Cannabis Moratoriums Oregon’s new marijuana license moratorium, House Bill 1406, inactivates applications submitted after January 1, 2022 for ALL license types. The legislation was originally limited to production licenses, with legislators arguing that limiting production would ensure there isn’t market saturation that would decrease prices to a level where growers would stand to make more money selling in the illicit market. Whatever the merit of this argument may be, a complete moratorium on all licenses blocks the only path for current or would-be illicit operators to become licensed. While this moratorium was supported by industry advocates, their support was more to stabilize the current wholesale prices for harvested marijuana, which is currently trending lower than it was when the original production moratorium went into effect back in 2018. However, I suspect that once prices stabilize and those licensees who are “in” rebound, industry will quickly realize that this moratorium will have a negative impact on any plans they may have to grow or expand. While this measure won’t stop licenses from being bought and sold, it will make buying licenses more expensive and will further lock out smaller operators from the legal market while large multi-state operators will continue to dominate. The era of small batch craft cannabis in Oregon is coming to an end, and the rise of the illicit market will only accelerate. Oregon’s new hemp moratorium manages to be even more irrational. Senate Bill 1564 allows county governments to impose local moratoriums by simply declaring a state of emergency “related to cannabis” and submitting a request to…

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