The Oregon Senate Greenlights a Bill That Would Allow State Officials to Suspend Issuance of New Licenses to Grow Cannabis

The move comes in response to an oversupply of weed that has sent prices tumbling.

(Thomas Teal)

The Oregon Senate today passed a bill aimed at ratcheting back the glut of recreational cannabis that has generated a massive oversupply and caused prices to decline sharply, from $14 a gram in 2015 to $3 a gram today.

Senate Bill 218 initially failed 17-13 on a Senate floor vote on April 10 but after being sent back to committee, it today gathered the votes necessary for passage.

As WW has reported, Oregon's decision not to cap the number of recreational licenses—a policy designed to dry up the black market by forcing prices lower—has worked, perhaps too well.

Low prices are hurting small players and caused lawmakers to step in. They've  proposed allowing the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to temporary halt the issuance of new licenses for cannabis growers, if the commission finds that market conditions require such a move. The bill would sunset after two years.

"We currently have a flood of cannabis production happening in our state," Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) said in a statement. "There is a 'green rush' happening in our state right now and, while we support a healthy and thriving new cannabis industry, the oversupply has caused plummeting product costs. Much of the product created by this oversupply is going into the illicit market that legalized cannabis was intended to curb. This bill will protect the existing legal market."

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.