Two Oregon lawmakers, Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, have planted the seed for liberalizing federal interstate cannabis commerce restrictions with a bill they introduced to the United States Congress on June 27, 2019.

OregonSenate Bill 582was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and allows the governor to enter into agreements with other states that have legally recognized marijuana for the purpose of recreational and medical marijuana commerce, as long as it gets approval at the federal level.

Days later that bill was introduced to the United States Congress as the State Cannabis Commerce Act. In other words: Oregon has a whole lot of high-grade marijuana and they want to sell it.

Oregon has long held a reputation for being at the forefront of cannabis reform and since the 2014 decision to end marijuana prohibition in the state, Oregon has liberally issued cannabis production licenses. Small businesses have thrived with this model asOregon presents the lowest barriers of entryof any recreational legal state, but the production of marijuana has outpaced consumption causing prices to plummet and product to sit unutilized.

The low barrier of entry and rate at which Oregon issues licenses for growing cannabis in the state has created a surplus that, if consumed at the current rate, would last Oregon for the next six-plus years according to a report by theOregon Liquor Control Commission. That is if it remains within the state's borders.

Will the surplus reach the Black Market?

The Black Market in non-legal states is thriving with theIdaho State Policeseeing an increase of marijuana seizures from 319 pounds in 2014 to 2,131 in 2018 with a single bust in 2019 resulting in 6,701 pounds confiscated. Some fear the excess marijuana in Oregon is an attractive supply that could be siphoned to the black market as a way to recoup production costs. Others, according toVice, see the possibility that the real risk of loss comes from the possibility that thousands of pounds of cannabis will rot in storage facilities. Oregon aims to keep the fruition of these fears at bay by opening legal markets that thus far have been closed due to federal regulations.

Oregon's Plan

If the Interstate Cannabis Commerce Bill passes, the state of Oregon plans to use its near-optimal growing climate, which is far better suited to cannabis production compared to other legal states like Nevada and Florida, to become a cannabis-producing powerhouse on its way to cornering the interstate wholesale cannabis market. The drawback to growing cannabis in these locations is that the product must be grown in a controlled environment, and in these locations that means indoor grows and extra resources,whereas Oregon's climate and topographylend itself to being a prime cannabis-growing area rivaling California's Mendocino County, or the "Emerald Triangle" of Cannabis.

And that's where Oregon plans to get the edge on its competition with the Interstate Cannabis Commerce Act.

"Oregon is a trailblazer, and this is another way that we can lead the nation regarding this relatively new legal industry," Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), who carried the bill to passage on the Senate floor. "Several states have legalized cannabis and so this puts Oregon in a great position to enter into agreements with other states, if and when the day comes that interstate cannabis trade is allowed by federal law. With the passage of Senate Bill 582, Oregon will be ahead of the game in this burgeoning industry."

How Does This Bill Help the Legalization of Cannabis?

The bill helps minimize the disparity between cannabis laws at the state and federal level while allowing commerce between states without federal government interference.

If passed, this law would allow for the legal transportation of cannabis across state lines.

Cannabis should beregulated like other consumer commoditiesaccording to Justin Strekal, the political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), an activist group based out of Washington D.C.

"Interstate commerce is good for both patients and consumers, as it will decrease the amount of time it takes for recently enacted medical programs to see products on the shelves and increase the variety of consumer options in both the adult-use and medical marketplaces," Strekal said. "Just as Americans around the country enjoy Kentucky bourbon, so should they be allowed to enjoy Oregon cannabis."

You can still find locally grown cannabis options, including proprietary Bonzaifloweror hand-crafted edibles made right in the heart of Denver, at yourlocal TGS.

Quick Fact

Curing Cannabis Plants- This very gradual drying process involves moderate humidity and mild temperatures, preserving the dimensionality of cannabis plants and the consumption experience. The better and more gradual the curing process, the more sophisticated a grower's yields become, including preserved aromas, flavors, and potency.