Last week, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission called a timeout on cannabis entrepreneurs.
The OLCC, which oversees recreational weed, announced May 30 it would not review license applications for new cannabis dispensaries and grows submitted after June 15 until the agency had processed its backlog of stores and farms requesting license renewals.
The halt comes at a time when fierce competition has driven the price of pot to record lows—and it keeps falling ("Too Much Weed," WW, April 18, 2018). Small shops are struggling to turn a profit while out-of-state investors flood chain stores with cash to buy up competitors.
WW took a look at how Oregonians' access to cannabis compares to that for booze—the other product the OLCC regulates. Spirits like vodka, rum and tequila may only be sold in licensed liquor stores closely controlled by the state, which places stringent restrictions on the number of liquor stores statewide.
We found that the comparatively loose regulation of cannabis has resulted in a far greater selection of bud than bottles.
Although there are far more dispensaries than liquor stores, the state expects $271 million in revenue from booze sales this year, more than three times what it expects to get from taxes on cannabis.