Article by Lily Raff McCaulou, The Guardian
Trey Willison, a cannabis farmer in Eugene, first started worrying last May about there being too much marijuana in Oregon. He had sold all his “clone” plants to other growers, who were using them to cultivate yet more marijuana.
“You start doing the math on that and it just didn’t make sense how people could be growing that many plants,” Willison said.
Fast-forward nearly a year and Oregon does indeed have a glut of marijuana; there are over 1m lb of usable but unsold marijuana, according to the state tracking system.
That’s more than 128m “eighths” of weed, and almost three times the amount of cannabis sold in Oregon in all of last year.
Flooded with supply, prices are dropping so much that some dispensaries in the Portland area are selling the drug for $4 a gram. That’s less than half the cost of a bargain-basement batch in other US cities where marijuana is legal, like Denver and Seattle.
When the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the agency in charge of cannabis regulation, issued the first licenses to businesses in 2016, projections were for 800 to 1,200 businesses to obtain cannabis licenses in the first couple of years, according to Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the OLCC.
But 1,824 marijuana-related business licenses have already been issued, including 981 production operations. Another 967 production licenses are in various stages of approval by the state and could come online later this year.