The Oregon cannabis industry has experienced so many ups and downs and twists and turns over the last few years that most of the small businesses that have survived are testaments to perseverance and a true love for the cannabis plant. With stringent regulations, a punishing federal tax code, and a massive amount of competition, the industry isn’t for the faint-hearted or anyone that thinks that it’s a “get-rich-quick” scheme.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the state regulators in charge of both cannabis and alcohol, have just issued a report providing a snapshot of the industry. Once again, a record amount of cannabis was grown by cultivators. The Portland Mercury listed some key points from the report:
• Between January 2016 and the date SB 218 was signed into law, the OLCC had received 3,034 producer applications, an average of 72 applications per month.
• As of December 12, 2019, the OLCC is processing producer applications received on or after February 17, 2018. 511 producer applications are awaiting assignment for investigation. 142 are currently assigned to investigators at varying stages of processing.
• Between April 29, 2016 and December 1, 2019, OLCC issued 1,387 recreational producer licenses.
• The 2019 outdoor harvest season was the largest since recreational licensing began in 2016.
• Between January 1 and November 30, 2019, OLCC producers harvested more than 5.7 million pounds (approximately 2,600 metric tons) of wet weight. This represents a 16 percent increase over the same time period in 2018.
• The quantity sold of usable marijuana increased by approximately 25 percent.
• Sales of extracts, concentrates, edibles, and tinctures collectively rose approximately 50 percent.
• Wholesale prices per pound of usable marijuana increased considerably beginning in spring and summer 2019, almost doubling from approximately $650 in April 2019 to $1,200 in November 2019.
The OLCC concluded its report stating:
Oregon’s nascent recreational cannabis industry has come a long way in a few short years. It has already experienced boom and bust dynamics similar to other commodities, as well as the effects of consumer demand and oversupply, while at the same time far surpassing expectations for providing a significant source of revenue for the state. OLCC views its role in regulating the recreational market as one of educating, building, and partnering with stakeholders as the industry develops, and OLCC takes seriously its mission to support both public safety and economic development in this state.
Craft cannabis companies have to work extremely hard to survive, let alone thrive, but there is still great news for consumers, as prices are still low, especially compared to the rest of the nation. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and local communities. Competition provides a lot of options for cannabis consumers. I urge folks to support craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, a company that gives back to the Pendleton community and looking out for its customers and the cannabis community at large.