Oregon has possibly the biggest cannabis surplus in the world, and yet some in the industry are claiming there’s a “shortage” of legal bud in the state. So what exactly is the deal?
The surplus has been reported upon ad nauseam this year. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) released a report in January, claiming that the state had enough cannabis to last 6.5 years. This prompted news coverage from most marijuana news outlets, including yours truly.
The story at that time was that relatively easy access to legal cannabis licenses had driven overproduction to the point that eights were going for as little as $6.
That prompted the state to pass some new measures including a freeze on new licenses and a move toward the exportation of cannabis to other states.
But some industry insiders are telling a different tale. Reporting from VICE pointed out that the 6.5 year figure was a generous estimate which included all cannabis in the state, including cannabis waste such as trim which was never intended for the shelves.
Much of the cannabis which was easily consumable has already been consumed. According to Todd Jeremy, manager of Portland dispensary Papa Buds, “all the cheap bud is gone” and consumers are facing what feels like a shortage.
“Everyone is calling us because we have flower left,” said Steve Penman, co-owner of the cultivation site SugarTree Farms in Southern Oregon. Many other providers are apparently low in stock until the harvest this fall.
While the $6 bags may be a thing of the past, there are still some lasting effects from the cannabis surplus. When weed was super duper cheap, one sector of the cannabis industry that took advantage was the extract manufacturers, who bought up all the inexpensive bud and turned it into concentrate.
The result is that the “dab market is seeing the lowest prices they have ever been,” according to Aviv Hadar, co-founder and CEO of Oregrown.
It’s the latest wave in the peaks and valleys of Oregon’s legal weed market as the state tries to iron out the kinks in its now four-year-old recreational cannabis program.
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily