Even With Recent Changes Oregon’s Cannabis Industry is Drowning in New Testing Regs; State Only Sees Upside – For Now
By Claire Kaufmann | Rebrandingcannabis.com | December 14, 2016
Last week, BDS Analytics released some compelling new Oregon cannabis market data, validating the industry’s months-long complaints about the state’s new testing regulations. Cannabis businesses claim that the new testing regulations are stifling the state’s fledgling cannabis industry – costing the industry millions in revenue, not to mention the hundreds of lost jobs, the now-skiddish industry investors and the huge resurgence of the state’s black market. At the state level, though, the cannabis tax dollars are being celebrated as a windfall. And, perhaps herein lies the problem. Since the state wasn’t expecting the money, it doesn’t feel the pinch as the industry declines – at least not financially. In a year where Measure 97 failed, the state is happy to have any extra money at all.
Even just today the state made a valiant effort to relieve pressure for small batch producers. And these changes will help, for sure. Do I think the state is doing its best? Sort of. Do I think its too little too late? Definitely.
Sometimes I feel like Oregon never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. As if California wasn’t already at a huge advantage due to its size and population, now our own regulatory complexities are forcing some businesses across the border. And who can blame them? Manufacturers are laying off dozens of people, promising to re-hire them next year when things level out. But, we all know it will take months for things to get back to “normal.” (By normal I mean the “new normal” under Sessions and Trump.)
I empathize with the state and agree that higher standards for quality are imperative to our long-term success. But, why introduce them all at once? Why force re-licensing and introduce higher standards at the same time? If we ended up here because things got delayed and all happened at once, then lets solve that problem first instead of finger pointing at who is to blame.
It seems like in an effort to legitimize the industry in the eyes of both the federal government and fellow-Oregonians, that perhaps the state over-estimated just how much volatility the industry could withstand. Perhaps they didn’t fully understand how most entrepreneurs are barely making it – considering they are already struggling to get a bank account and can’t even deduct basic business expenses. It’s a one way ticket to crazy-town. Anyways, that is my soap box for now. I am grateful to have been able to share some valuable data. I am really grateful to the dispensaries who made this happen. They are the real heroes of this story. I am eager to see how people navigate these uncharted waters. I am humbled to witness so many successes, in spite of the many challenges.
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