Study shows depth of Oregon’s cannabis glut, illegal transport

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A new report on Oregon’s marijuana industry sheds more light on the massive oversupply there and the huge illegal trade across state lines, issues that need to be addressed immediately, the state’s top federal law enforcement official said.

The report “confirms what we already know – (the industry) is out of control,” Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said in a statement Thursday.

The study, released by the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – a coalition of local, state and federal agencies – found:
  • As of 2018, only 31% of available cannabis inventory was distributed, meaning nearly 70% of legal recreational marijuana grown went unsold.
  • There is one cannabis grow site for every 19 users – another reflection of massive overproduction.
  • The cannabis glut has caused a 50% annual price drop since 2016.
  • From 2011 to 2016, illicit grow sites statewide produced $2.1 billion worth of cannabis.
  • Between July 2015 and January 2018, authorities seized nearly 15,000 pounds of marijuana heading to 37 other states. The confiscated cannabis had a street value of $48 million.
  • During the same period, Oregon investigated at least 64 clandestine cannabinoid extract laboratories.

Williams, who previously has expressed his frustration about Oregon’s inability to get control of the situation, again called on the state to get its act together and address the problems.

By comparison, a Colorado study released Thursday found the Centennial State has a relatively well-balanced market, albeit with gradually falling marijuana flower prices.

The Colorado study – conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder’s business school and the Marijuana Policy Group – found most of the state’s growers are planting less than half of their legal allotment – and still meeting demand.

Licensee compliance also is improving, according to the study.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily