Everyone is talking about cannabis in Oregon, two groups are working to change the conversation.
We spoke to Adam Smith, Founder and Director of the Craft Cannabis Alliance and Jesse Bontecou at Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association about their work and what happens now that their bill has passed the Oregon Senate.
A point raised by Adam is that Oregon has the perfect growing conditions. It’s no secret that Oregon and California cannabis is consistently of higher quality than that grown on the illicit market or in other states. Adam wants to educate local governments on the reality of setting up a growing infrastructure.
“In a state like Illinois, which is about to legalize, or New York or New Jersey or Connecticut, it would take years to build out the infrastructure necessary for an entirely self-contained production industry. And even then, it is unlikely that the cannabis will compare favorably on either price or quality with what’s available on the west coast or even in the illicit market. Licensed interstate transfers would allow retailers to fill shelves with world class product on day one. This will move tens of millions of consumers out of illicit markets and into regulated markets years sooner than would otherwise be possible. There is also the issue of the environmental impact of forcing every legal and legalizing state to produce cannabis at scale regardless of suitability,” Smith explains.
With many states legalizing or allowing medical cannabis usage, there exists a simple fix to provide these markets and patients with quality and lab tested product while saving local governments time and allocation of budget surrounding cannabis legislation.
Rep Rob Nosse agrees.
Bringing a cannabis plant from East Fork Cultivars onto the Oregon Senate Floor, Nosse led the measure that passed 48-16.
So what now?
The Oregon bill has passed, Smith is working with allies in California, which encompasses the rest of the Emerald Region, to introduce a similar bill there.
“There’s a lot of momentum building in California on this issue. If we don’t get a bill introduced late here in this session, we will definitely target the 2020 session.”
Smith is also beginning to travel the country to identify and build coalitions to advocate in 4-8 potential import states. The hope is to get multiple governors on board and calling on the Federal Government to allow licensed transfers between consenting states by 2021.
When we asked Bontecou how individuals can help he said to simply get involved.
“This doesn’t happen without people being engaged in the process. Talk to everyone in the industry you know,” says Bontecou.
Jesse noted that this doesn’t change the immediate future in Oregon. It does, however, give Oregon a platform to advocate from and is a very important first step to solving the oversupply problem.
“Oregon is a leader in cannabis. The passing of the bill ensures we are a leader in cannabis policy and are driving the conversation forward,” Bontecou reminds.
Smith simply sees a future where Oregon and California can share their bounty with other states.
“The Emerald Region of Oregon and Northern California is the best and most important cannabis producing region in the world. We have been supplying most of the nation’s domestic cannabis crop literally for generations. This effort is about those craft growers, the people who love and value the plant. They are the soul of cannabis in the US, and if we don’t help them access markets where their products can sell for a fair price – and do it soon – that traditional industry will be crushed by deep-pocketed corporate interests. This is neither desirable nor inevitable, and we’re not going to let it happen.”
Confident Cannabis appreciates Adam Smith’s work and everyone he worked with to get this done. We’re looking forward to continuing support as he achieves similar success in California and other states.
“What we love about Adam’s work is that it helps small businesses access new buyers outside the state and furthers our vision to create a sustainable and vibrant ecosystem where cannabis businesses thrive,” says Steve Albarran CEO of Confident Cannabis.