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Cannabis Exports, Cafes, and the Future of the Oregon Industry at the ICBC

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Cannabis sales are continuing to break revenue records and exceed expectations in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, proving that legalization can create jobs and generate revenue, without the sky falling. However, there are still legitimate concerns regarding how the profits are being divvied up, as, like in many industries, bigger players are gobbling up many smaller businesses as consolidation becomes the norm. Striving to help smaller businesses, Oregon advocates are working to legalize exporting cannabis and cannabis cafes (and other similar consumption locales).

You can learn the latest about these political endeavors at International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in Portland this September 27th-28th, particularly during the “What’s Next for the Oregon Industry” panel that I’m moderating. Panelists include Adam Smith of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association‘s Casy Houlihan, Sam Chapman of New Revenue Coalition (for which I also serve as co-director), and Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski.

The Willamette Week recently covered Smith’s efforts to make Oregon a cannabis exporter:

“All we need to get the ball rolling is a bill that gives permission for the OLCC to allow legal exports between Oregon and other legal states,” Smith says. “We are a state that has a part-time legislature, with a 30-day session every other year, then one long session every two years. So if we don’t get a bill passed this cycle, we have to start over in two years.”

Smith is already in talks with legislators like state Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) and Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass), who he says will be “champions” for cannabis exports during February’s legislative session. Cannabis business owners can go to the CCA’s website to sign up for time slots to speak with their representatives during the legislative session in Salem, and everyone who can is encouraged to donate what they can to help fund lobbying efforts.

“Exports don’t solve everything,” Smith says. “But no conversation about cannabis—whether it’s talking economic potential or legal weed being diverted to the illegal market—is complete without acknowledging the logical move toward legalizing cannabis exports.”

While exporting cannabis across state lines are desperately needed for Oregon’s producers, cannabis cafes and other consumption businesses (think of “bud and breakfasts” and farms with on-site consumption, similar to wineries) are also needed for local entrepreneurs and consumers alike. Marijuana Moment first covered the New Revenue Coalition’s campaign to legalize licensed cannabis consumption businesses in Oregon:

Consumption spaces have so far been missing from the state’s legalization puzzle, a compromise made to help soothe fears around introducing recreational marijuana.

Now that the cannabis industry has proved that it is a responsible and profitable pursuit—and one that’s creating a dedicated revenue stream for state tax coffers—advocates like Chapman say it’s time to correct that.

“It’s easy for folks in the industry to get caught in the movement with all the success we’re having,” he told Marijuana Moment. “But that has largely not changed the majority of the stigmatization that is out there. There is still a lot of work and education to be done.”

Oregon has helped lead the nation to show that cannabis laws can be reformed for the better, but there is still a ton of work to be done for businesses, patients, and consumers. Part of that work is organizing and networking among like-minded advocates, investors, and entrepreneurs that share a common goal. Join us at the ICBC in Portland this week to learn the latest, network, and be a part of a revolutionary movement to legalize more freedom, jobs, and revenue. Get your tickets today!

Craft Cannabis Alliance, Marijuana Moment, New Revenue Coalition, Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, Willamette Week