The rollout of marijuana legalization has not been smooth. On one side, there’s a push for revenue; on the other, there’s a desire for tough regulations and enforcement. While businesses get caught in the middle, consumers go along for the ride and patients run the risk of being mowed over.
Greed Rules: The Case of Oregon
Legislators often see legal marijuana as a cash cow. If money is the motivation, authorities will push to issue as many licenses to as many businesses as possible, which can lead to overproduction and oversupply. Take the legal marijuana state of Oregon, for instance.
People in Oregon grow a lot of weed. The Beaver State has been a net marijuana exporter for decades. The state’s medical-marijuana program was approved by voter initiative in 1998, yet it wasn’t until 2013 that the state legislature passed a bill to license and regulate dispensaries. Voters approved a legalization measure in 2014 and adult-use sales started in 2015. Then, in 2016, the legislature repealed a residency requirement for marijuana businesses and opened up Oregon’s marijuana industry to out-of-state investment.
“We’ve created an oversupply problem,” says Anthony Taylor, co-founder and legislative liaison for the patient advocacy organization Compassionate Oregon. “Before