Oregon approved Measure 91 with the intent of legalizing the industry we already had. But it turned out that the industry we already had was a majority export market and had been for generations.
While the Feds, and the US Attorney for Oregon, bemoan diversion, illicit production, and oversupply and demand that the state “get control” of the situation, they refuse to allow us the means to fix the problem. The reality is that we’ve never been able to “get control”. Oregon has been a producer state, and an export state, for generations. Eighty years of prohibition didn’t work to stop it. Asset forfeiture, and helicopters, and raiding citizen’s homes didn’t stop it.
The ongoing Federal prohibition of interstate commerce means that the only cannabis producers still able to make a living in Oregon right now are those who decided not to get licensed. We are currently facing a real-time financial crisis in which millions of dollars of local capital is at imminent risk of being wiped out. The thousands of Oregonians who went all-in to be part of the legal market. The economic repercussions will be felt for generations.
In the midst of this crisis, corporate, deep-pocketed, out-of-state companies are here buying up struggling small businesses for pennies, while others attempt to stay afloat by laying off their employees or are forced to close up shop completely. The larger companies – who can bear the cost of losing money for years – are not here to get rich selling cannabis to Oregonians, they are here so that when the walls come down, and Oregon has a multi-billion dollar export industry, they will own the Oregon brand nationally and globally.
It will be a shame, when a small number of large out-of-state companies own our brand, that the hard work of generations of Oregonians will be lost.
The reality is that legalizing interstate export will instantly end diversion from the legal market. There is nothing you could do to more effectively cut the amount of illegal export from Oregon – and the entire west coast – than to open up legal markets and regulated export options.
The overwhelming numbers of folks setting up legal business and jumping through hoops just demonstrate the desire to participate in a fully functioning legal market. People didn’t bet the family farm and go into debt to get licensed so they could sell their product to a guy in a van. Export will only further incentivize remaining illicit growers to get licensed and get legal.
Those businesses who have invested in working with authorities to build a balanced legal system would see the value of their businesses increase exponentially the minute that export becomes a reality. The local capital invested will be assured and begin to see the revenue growth it was intended to create. Thousands of jobs will be saved and even more created, adding billions in local wealth to our economy. Most importantly, Oregon will maintain our role as a center for global excellence and a supplier of world-class products.
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