What’s the long-term impact of the federal government’s crackdown on medical marijuana businesses?
Look to Oregon, where last year’s MMJ raids have created a chilling effect, particularly for individuals and companies growing medical marijuana.
The Associated Press reported this week that large cannabis grows in the state have downsized in recent months, hoping to avoid federal attention as the government targets big cultivation operations.
Among the findings:
– While the number of overall grow sites is stable at roughly 35,500, there’s been a 26% decline in cultivation operations providing marijuana to five or more patients, a 36% plunge in those serving at least 10 patients and a 55% dip in sites with 15 or more registered patients.
– There are more than 1,000 additional grows that serve just one patient, an uptick of about 5%.
At the same time, Oregon has seen a sharp decrease in medical marijuana patients, mirroring the situation in Colorado, Montana and some other states with MMJ laws. The number of registered patients in Oregon has fallen 5% in the past six months, totaling 55,807 in April vs. 58,311 in October. Aside from the government crackdown, another other contributing factor is the fact that annual fees to register for a patient card doubled to $200 this year.
The data show pretty clearly that the raids last year in California and the Pacific Northwest are having the intended effect on the MMJ community. Expect other states with medical marijuana laws to follow the same trend as well when it comes to grow operations and overall patient numbers.