Oregon cannabis producers have harvested more cannabis than Oregonians can consume. Over three times as much to be exact.
The overproduction of cannabis in Oregon is not a temporary phenomenon. Production is actually expected to double this year.
For Oregon cannabis consumers times have never been better. Ounces of regulated, lab tested, taxed cannabis flower are selling for as low as $28 per ounce in Oregon right now.
But as good as it is to be a consumer is as hard as it is to be a producer right now due to overproduction-induced low prices.
To make matters worse, the federal government issued new cannabis enforcement guidelines this week and are calling for a cap on cannabis production.
U.S. attorney for Oregon Billy Williams demands changes
Today U.S. attorney for Oregon Billy Williams issued new cannabis enforcement guidelines to address Oregon’s overproduction of cannabis as well as cannabis diversion from the legal market to the unregulated market.
The guidelines came via a memo, which is the first of its kind since United States Attorney General rescinded Obama-era cannabis protections.
According to Williams, the federal government wants Oregon to cap cannabis production, increase oversight on the cannabis industry, and capture data regarding diverted cannabis from Oregon.
When pressed by Oregon’s Governor for assurances that state-legal cannabis businesses would be exempt from federal enforcement, Williams would not rule out the possibility of federal prosecution.
“I will not make broad proclamations of blanket immunity from prosecution to those who violate federal law.” Williams stated according to OregonLive.com.
, Oregon has just under 1,000 active licensed adult-use cannabis producers and 1,859 total active adult-use cannabis industry licenses.
The issuance of new cannabis enforcement guidelines was expected
In February of this year, Billy Williams made statements about Oregon’s cannabis industry that created anxiety in some industry circles.
Shortly after Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama-era Cole memo Billy Williams expressed concern about Oregon’s level of legal cannabis production.
Williams pointed towards a flawed Oregon State Police analysis dealing with cannabis production in Oregon and tried tying it to a perceived issue with cannabis being diverted to the unregulated market.
“That is the fact, and my responsibility is to work with our state partners to do something about it. Make no mistake. We are going to do something about it but that requires an effort to do this together. It requires transparency. The facts are what they are. The numbers are what they are.” Williams stated at a cannabis summit he organized in February according to OregonLive.com.
When pressed for facts at the time Williams stated that he was waiting for a final version of the cannabis diversion analysis from the Oregon State Police, which Oregon State Police has now stated it will not be issuing.
The ‘fears’ expressed by Billy Williams are unfounded
By Billy Williams’ own admission, he does not have complete data when it comes to cannabis being diverted from Oregon’s cannabis industry.
The only accurate and complete data that he is basing his stance on is the amount of legal cannabis sitting in Oregon.
Legal cannabis in Oregon is required to be tracked and completely secured at all times. Yes, there is a lot of it, but as long as it’s stored in compliance with Oregon law it poses no problem whatsoever.
Oregon also has an overproduction issue right now with hops that are made into alcohol. Why has there been no federal outcry about it? Why is there a double standard for cannabis?
Alcohol is diverted from one state to another, as are tobacco products and pharmaceutical drugs. So why is cannabis being singled out, especially considering that cannabis is safer than all of those substances?
The oversupply of cannabis in Oregon will either sell over time or be discarded in compliance with Oregon law.
No responsible cannabis producer would risk their license or freedom by diverting cannabis out of state. Rare cases will pop up, but a handful of bad actors will always unfortunately be found in any industry the size of the cannabis industry.
The federal government is getting desperate
It is very clear that the federal government is desperate to keep legalization from working. The guidelines issued today do not change anything.
The federal government, as well as state law enforcement agencies, can already go after unregulated cannabis right now (for better or worse).
The guidelines issued today are not creating anything new.
They were just simply packaged with a bunch of unfounded political talking points in a likely attempt to drum up media coverage and tug at the heartstrings of cannabis prohibitionists in the Oregon Legislature.
If you live in Oregon, contact your state and federal lawmakers and urge them to demand that Billy Williams be reigned in!