OR Awash in Pot, State to Deny New Growing Licenses

Oregon is awash in pot, glutted with so much legal weed that if growing were to stop today, it could take more than six years to smoke or eat it all, the Associated Press reports. The state is looking to curb production  Five years after voters legalized recreational marijuana, legislators are moving to give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission more leeway to deny new pot-growing licenses based on supply and demand. The bill, which passed the Senate and is before the House, is aimed not just at reducing the huge surplus but at preventing diversion of unsold legal marijuana into the black market and forestalling a federal crackdown.

“The harsh reality is we have too much product on the market,” said Gov. Kate Brown. Supply is running twice as high as demand, meaning that the surplus from last year’s harvest alone could amount to roughly 2.3 million pounds of marijuana, the equivalent of over 1 billion joints. Oregon has one of the highest such imbalances among the 10 states that have legalized recreational marijuana since 2012, after it had a big head start in the weed business. With its moist climate and rich soil, Oregon has a long history of pot growing. When it became legal, many outlaw growers went legitimate, and others jumped into the business. They are now cultivating weed in fields, greenhouses and converted factories, with 1,123 active producer licenses issued over the past three years.

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