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An Oregon Bill Could Cause New Conflict with the Federal Government Over Legal Cannabis


There are a lot of cannabis related bills making their way through legislature right now – but one that is expected to be introduced soon in Oregon takes a leap that could lead to federal interference on a new level if it becomes law. The bill would make it legal for wholesalers to export dried cannabis to other states in the country where cannabis is legal – which is entirely illegal under federal law no matter which way you look at it.

As it stands there are very few protections for the cannabis industry to prevent the federal government from coming in and shutting things down simply because they can, and in the end those protections rely on states keeping their legal cannabis within their own borders. While the bill would only allow wholesalers to sell to states where cannabis is currently legal – like Washington and California – it still goes against the guidelines set by the feds that have kept them out of legalization so far.

“There are plenty of markets that would be thrilled to have world-class cannabis,” said Adam Smith, founder and director of the Oregon-based Craft Cannabis Alliance, in an interview with the paper. “But prohibition keeps us from sending it into those markets.”

Why, if it could cause such conflict with the federal government, would Oregon lawmakers be looking to take things to this new level and test waters with exporting cannabis? Mostly to help solve a problem of their own, which is an extreme oversupply.

There is currently an excess of roughly 1.3 million pounds of cannabis sitting around in Oregon since there is no limit on cultivation licenses in the state. With more growers than necessary to keep up with the supply and demand, there is far more cannabis being grown than can be consumed by those living in the state. With licenses still being issued, this is a problem that isn’t going to go away on its own.

However, Oregon isn’t the only state with an overabundance of cannabis since legalization. While the industry often starts off with a slump in supply right after sales begin, eventually this evens out, prices drop and suddenly there is more bud than imagined just sitting on shelves – so exporting might be harder than legislators imagine.

It is uncertain if this bill will gain enough support to make it to the governor’s desk for a signature – or if the governor would consider passing the legislation if it got that far. However, if it does make it that far, then there is a strong possibility that it would be challenged by federal law in some form or another.