Let’s Talk Policy: Two Bills Could Mean Big Changes

A Loophole for Medical Growers Might Upend the Market

Comments

1
Ummm no! It is totally fair to allow medical growers to sell up to 20lbs. A lot of recreational grows have little concern about the quality of their cannabis and only care about high yeilds.
2
That is ridiculous! Quit whining about the awesome medical marijuana excess and allow it in! You say its not fair, but forget all the crap that has been heaped upon patients and medical growers.

Was it fair to allow out-of-state investors in to blow up the market? Was it fair for the Joint Committee to destroy the OMMP program? Was it fair for the legislature to and OHA to change the rules repeatedly?

They want to stop diversion, they damn well better make an allowance for medical growers' excess to get into the market. And they think the stupid METRC system will stop recreational diversion...what a joke!

Josh Jardine, are you also one of the extremists that thinks excess medical marijuana that exceeds the patient limits should be destroyed?

Or, are your advertisers from the Oregon cannabis Business Council which would like nothing more than to force all medical patients to purchase from one of their association dispensaries...and purchase pesticide tainted products too, since they wanted to stop testing concentrates for pesticides even though 26% officially and likely 50% in reality, of the medical grade concentrates were failing the tests! PURE GREED!

The Portland Mercury should be ashamed of themselves for supporting the rec industry at the expense of medical growers and patients, and the OMMP system, too.
3
Medical growers founded the industry they should not be barred from it by out of state interests. If the system is unfair, it is because the people making the rules are deliberately trying to strangle the industry. All Oregonians should be able to benefit from cannabis, even sick people who don't have million's to compete with big industry. ALL of the product the first year and a half came from medical: it is inexcusable to have priced those players out of the industry by passing onerous regulations. If the problem is that the rec gardens pay too much and feel they can't compete with the poor, then maybe the solution is to reduce the fees and let us all play.
4
Money Trumps Medicine in Oregon's marijuana world again.
Letting the smallest farmers, the one's who provide for patients for free, continue to sell into the regulated market is a loophole?

Really? Let me get this straight. A medical grow which is limited to 48 mature plants is going to be able to produce marijuana cheaper than a rec farm which can grow 48,000 plants? (And there really is no limit on rec farms since an owner can obtain multiple licenses.)

The OLCC farm can sell every gram they produce, for profit. The medical farm has to first supply all the patients they grow for. I give away over $50,000 worth of medicine to patients every year, for free. We deliver flower, oil and shatter, free to patients. We often provide oil to cancer patients that we are not growing for, for free.

The author of the article likes SB 1057 because it allows rec growers to add 10% to their canopy if they give 75% of that extra away to patients. Hey all you OLCC growers out there, you don't need the Legislature to pass a law giving you a bonus for helping poor patients that can't afford marijuana, you can just do it because it is the right thing to do. Soon enough, many OLCC producers will be sitting on inventory that is moving so slowly it is going to deteriorate. Hunter Neubauer, another OLCC producer afraid of medical growers threatening his market share, suggested excess marijuana be destroyed in his testimony to the Joint Committee. I suggest instead that OLCC growers donate medicine to patients who can't afford to buy it. Oregon now has a carefully tracked inventory of excess marijuana. If we do not ensure that every patient that could benefit gets all the medicine they need then we have missed an opportunity to be compassionate and to allow the benefits of medical cannabis to be realized.

The picture the article paints of medical growers being somehow exempt from expensive regulation is a big lie. Fake news. Whatever you want to call it. SB 1057, which has already passed the Legislature and became law, now requires medical growers to do seed to sale tracking, and be subject to inspection by OLCC, just like rec growers. Here is a breakdown of some of the annual expenses a medical grower faces in my county:

Conditional use permit:   $3400
Planning dept. medical grow inspection fee :   $825
Other planning department fees:   $?
Increased OMMP grower fees:    $1600
Seed to sale tracking system fee:   $ to be determined
Seed to sale monthly software license:   $500

I could go on, but you get the idea. Medical growers have not been exempted from expensive over regulation.

The author's main point is that allowing medical growers to sell 20 pounds will overwhelm the market. He projects that 12,000 medical growers selling twenty pounds would total 240,000 pounds. The author says that is more than the 44,000 pounds sold in the regulated market last year. There are several problems with these projections. First, according to an OHA report on sales, OMMP Dispensary Sales Report 2016, dispensaries purchased 102,525 pounds of usable marijuana in 2016. I don't know where the authors 44,000 pounds number comes from. Second, the same report details the number of medical growers selling to stores, which dropped from 1712 in June to 660 in December. The numbers likely dropped as medical growers transitioned into OLCC licensing. 600X20 =12,000 pounds, a pretty small fraction of the OLCC market, is a better projection. And the numbers may drop further. For a tiny medical farm, it looks like selling 20 pounds may not even cover the costs of being regulated to sell that 20 pounds.

The Legislature has enacted lots of new laws and rules that encourage people to seek OLCC licenses. But they have also allowed local governments to opt out or zone out. Lots of people growing for patients out of compassion are unwilling or unable to deal with all the over regulation, mounting expenses, and inspections by multiple agencies so they are dropping out of the program.  Because of this, thousands of patients are losing their supply of free medicine. The remaining medical growers who want in to the OLCC are prevented by this over regulation. That is what is unfair.

Oh did I mention that the medical growers were here first but now are being pushed out by people who made a lot of campaign contributions and lobbied for rules to push out the competition?

The article dabbles with the issue of oversupply but begs the most important question, isn't the entire OLCC system headed for over-supply? Not because of 600 medical growers, limited to 48 plants, but because of 1500 OLCC producers who can grow tens of thousands of plants? What if they each produce 1000 pounds? What if next year there are 2500 OLCC producers? A tier 2 farm should do much better than 1000 pounds anyway. How is oversupply not inevitable?

Could someone explain to me why some OLCC growers are so worried about the remaining medical farms that are the source of medicine for thousands of patients but they are not worried about the next 12 OLCC farms that get licensed, which may produce as much competition as all the tiny medical growers?

What is going to happen when the OLCC tracking system shows that the system has 20 times more marijuana in inventory (carefully tracked of course) than state demand can absorb in a year?

Dealing with the inevitable over supply of marijuana in Oregon will be challenging. The solution should not be to sacrifice the patients.

John Sajo, Director Umpqua Cannabis Association

5
This is propaganda and is one sided reporting. Enjoy rubbing elbows with the new Oregon Cannabis Cartels. Sellout