More than 20 million Americans were out of work during the height of the COVID crisis last year, and the latest figures still put the number of unemployed at over 18 million. These unemployment numbers don’t take into account the number of people underemployed and those that have given up looking for work altogether. As many as 22 million may be considered underemployed in that their current jobs are just part-time or don’t match their education level or work experience. Over 300,000 Oregonians were unemployed last April, with that number still over 177,000. One of the few economic bright spots in Oregon, and across the nation, has been the cannabis industry, but now isn’t the time to rest on our laurels. We should capitalize on the further mainstreaming of cannabis and capitalize on the burgeoning industry and make Oregon THE craft cannabis state by opening up licenses to promote as many small businesses as possible and broaden the industry further into the hospitality market, preparing for an economic boom following the pandemic.
As Denver’s ABC Channel 7 reported, the Colorado city is considering expanding the cannabis industry, Oregon shouldn’t definitely follow suit:
One of the most notable changes that is being proposed includes Denver opting into a state law that allows local municipalities to authorize and regulate marijuana delivery.
The proposal would also allow Denver to opt into a law that expands opportunities for cannabis consumption businesses. Those licensed businesses would be able to allow customers to smoke cannabis indoors, sell small amounts of cannabis, and allow customers to bring their own.
The proposal would also legalize marijuana tour buses allowing consumption on buses to cater to marijuana tourists.
According to Ashley Kilroy, Denver’s executive director of excise and licenses, the city pulled together a committee of stakeholders that researched over two years that came up with a proposal to increase cannabis hospitality services and set up an equity procedure to assist communities of color. Oregon should learn from the work of Denver and move to implement similar proposals for Oregon. The beautiful Beaver State has embraced the local winery and microbrewery industries and it needs to do the same with cannabis. Time is of the essence to fully capitalize on the essential cannabis industry so that craft cannabis companies can thrive instead of just multinational corporations.