The latest statistics on Oregon cannabis show the market is exceeding expectations—and drawing the suspicion of prosecutors.
Oregon has a generous supply of weed, thanks to bumper harvests that have driven down prices to record lows ("Too Much Weed," WW, April 18, 2018). That oversupply has glutted Oregon's market and led, law enforcement officials say, to "leakage" into the black market.
At least one prosecutor is getting suspicious. But the state isn't letting him look too closely.
Big Sales at a Few Dispensaries
Last week, state regulators overseeing Oregon's recreational cannabis abruptly curbed the ability of medical marijuana cardholders to buy weed in bulk, citing suspiciously large purchases that might have been leaking into the black market.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission lowered the amount of marijuana that medical cardholders can buy each day from 24 ounces to 1 ounce. The OLCC provided WW with a spreadsheet showing that 98 percent of sales to medical cardholders were already under that limit.
But a small number of stores were selling pot in big packages. The OLCC says two retailers in Multnomah County accounted for more than one-third of all Oregon sales of 8 ounces or more. The agency declined to release the names of those stores, saying it is currently investigating them.
DAs Are Sniffing Around
Last week, the Oregon Department of Justice issued an opinion that put the brakes on local law enforcement agencies wishing to crack down on leakage from Oregon's medical marijuana program. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel earlier asked the state for a list of sanctioned growers. DOJ denied his request. Here are excerpts from the relevant letters.