Have you been to your favorite cannabis store lately to find that your favorite cannabis product is out of stock? Well, you are not alone. Many cannabis consumers, especially medical patients, have been seriously challenged to find the products they have come to rely on. The reason is that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Health Authority initiated new rules on October 1st for marijuana testing, labeling, and packaging, that have thrown our new industry into a tailspin and an industry wide crisis.
Although most cannabis business owners support testing that provides safe cannabis, some of the recent changes were overly onerous. What used to cost $100 for lab conducted potency and purity test, can now run into the thousands. Many business owners have been unable to get their product into labs for testing, even once they negotiate the new fees. To date the OLCC has only 4 fully licensed labs. This low number of labs available simply doesn’t meet the demand of the new market.
Some businesses, unable to plan for such unforeseen obstacles, are in serious trouble. May processors have a warehouse full of product that hasn’t been able to be moved to market due to this bottlenecking at the labs. Some have already opted to forego moving forward into the legal recreational market, while others have hunkered down by laying off staff and cutting expenses.
Oregon’s legalization of cannabis is meant to bring it into an open legally regulated market. When such over regulation occurs, it only hurts the new market and the newly licensed businesses. When legal products are not available in the stores, it encourages people to seek them out on the black market, thus encouraging illegal sales. Medical patients especially, need to have a consistent supply of product that can be purchased in a safe environment.
Fortunately, industry advocates and government agencies, as well as the Governor’s office, have been working together to resolve the problems. As of last Friday, a temporary fix has been initiated. Testing standards have been adjusted to more closely resemble those used by other industries. These changes should help get the market moving again. Our new industry stands by its commitment to provide consumers with clean, healthy cannabis at competitive prices. As the market gets flowing again, local stores will be stocking up. So why not stop by and see what’s back in stock at your local store? Happy Holidays!
Margo Lucas is the owner of West Salem Cannabis and Cowgirl Cannabis. A believer in good communication and education, Lucas has advocated for the industry at city, county and state levels.