The Netherlands and Canada have been dominating the international cannabis export market, with its companies sending marijuana to lucrative burgeoning markets like Germany. Israel, wisely, just voted to join the export club. The United States is seemingly getting left behind, but a small state with a huge supply of cannabis has advocates and policymakers hoping to help show Uncle Sam the light. As the Source Weekly noted, there is a lot of work left to be done at the federal level to allow exports, but the state should “lay the groundwork for turning Oregon’s oversupply problem into an export opportunity”:
Senate Bill 582, sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) and Rep. Ken Helm (D-Beaverton), would authorize the governor to “enter into an agreement with another state for purpose of cross-jurisdictional coordination and enforcement of marijuana-related businesses,” and “specifies that borders of this state must abut borders of other state.” In other words, SB 582 would allow Oregon to set up agreements with states that touch Oregon to effectively enter into an interstate commerce agreement with those states. In this current climate of federal prohibition of marijuana, the bill is not much more than a “just in case” move—but it’s a just in case that could help Oregon solidify its position as a big producer and exporter of this green crop.
Until marijuana is de-scheduled at the federal level, the framework that SB 582 would lay out would be a formality. Should the governors of neighboring states dare to actually set up interstate commerce and allow legal weed between Oregon, California, Nevada and Washington right now, they’d be playing a big game of felonious dare.
Still, having the framework in place that SB 582 would allow would mean that Oregon would be ahead of the game, should federal legalization happen. Oregon would be more readily equipped to begin exporting marijuana and dealing with the regulations necessary to do so—ahead of some other states that may want to get into the business. That would be a positive step, a boon to a strong sector of the Oregon economy—one that has been responsible for millions flowing into schools, fire departments and police departments in the state already. Were we able to sell more, it stands to reason that those institutions would also see more tax revenue—and without much more burden on local law enforcement, to boot.
Oregon’s abundance is great for consumers and many patients as the state enjoys the lowest cannabis prices in the industrialized world. The low prices, combined with federal tax law, do make it difficult for businesses to turn a profit, especially for mom-and-pops. Exporting cannabis could help turn the tide, however. The Beaver State’s cannabis industry and community need to rally behind SB 582 and federal efforts led by Oregon’s own Earl Blumenauer, Ron Wyden, and Jeff Merkley to change federal law, so the rest of the country, and eventually the globe, can have access to the state’s world-class cannabis. If so, then at an International Cannabis Business Conference in Spain, Germany, or Switzerland in the near future, there may be an Oregon contingent on stage explaining how the state helped lead the way on exports and what makes the state’s cannabis so special. (Today, Valentine’s Day, happens to be Oregon’s birthday, so happy birthday, Oregon!)