October marijuana harvest fuels Oregon’s oversupply problem

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Oregon marijuana prices are facing oversupply pressure after an October harvest that was 15% higher than the October 2022 yield.

That dramatic increase follows months of smaller harvests that had brought some much-needed relief to Oregon growers who previously faced plummeting flower prices because of oversupply, Willamette Week reported, citing state economists.

“Through the first nine months of the year, the marijuana harvest was nine percent lower than a year ago, and 15 percent lower than the record crop back in 2021,” economists Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner wrote in their most recent forecast.

“As the market appeared to be adjusting, prices were stabilizing.”

But any hopes for price stabilization might now be dashed because of October’s bumper crop.

That supply spike “couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Beau Whitney, chief economist of Portland-based cannabis data and analysis firm Whitney Economics, told Willamette Week.

Whitney said more than a third of respondents to a survey he is conducting said they are struggling to pay taxes and even more are struggling to settle their debts.

In many cases, he said, retailers aren’t paying wholesalers who, in turn, aren’t paying producers.

“People are walking away from cannabis licenses or selling them for pennies on the dollar,” Whitney told Willamette Week.

According to the Portland-based news outlet, “cannabis tax delinquencies are up” in Oregon “and tax collections have fallen short of estimates in four of the past five quarters.”