Oregon Legislature Passes Historic Bill to Allow Cannabis Exports


Oregon, with a long history with cannabis, combined with some great weather in the southern part of the state, and relatively low barriers to enter the regulated market, has produced a lot of cannabis since the state legalized cannabis commerce. I mean, a lot. The huge supply of cannabis, a bounty, if you will, has led to rock-bottom prices, creating a cannabis connoisseur’s dream, but has made it exceedingly difficult for producers to make any kind of profit. Other states, and nations, don’t have an adequate supply and could use more cannabis, particularly lab-tested, sungrown cannabis. A true win-win bill was introduced to allow Oregon’s governor to enter into export agreements with other legal states and that historic bill passed today. Representative Rob Nosse even brought a cannabis plant with him onto the Oregon House floor for today’s vote!

From an email from the Craft Cannabis Alliance’s Adam Smith:

The bill will grant the Governor authority to enter into agreements with other states to allow interstate transfers of cannabis between licensees.   The bill previously passed the Oregon Senate, and now heads to Governor Brown’s desk. We expect her to sign it.

This bill’s passage is a strong statement by the Oregon legislature that the state understands both the future of the cannabis industry and Oregon’s place in it. It sends a signal to other states – both natural producer states and natural import states – that Oregon is ready to do business and share our bounty of world class cannabis with other people who love it too!

Opening markets to cannabis from the world’s most important production region is particularly important for locally-owned craft producers and manufacturers, many of whom are barely hanging on, waiting to be able to bring their world class products to larger legal markets where they would be in high demand and fetch a fair price.

From a press release from the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association:

“This is a major paradigm shift for sure,” says Casey Houlihan, Executive Director of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA). “When we started the conversation around cannabis exports four years ago, this was not on the radar of most legislators.  But it’s really smart public policy – it’s important to our members, important for our state, and important for the future of the entire cannabis industry.  Passing this bill at this critical moment is a testament to the massive value for the industry in building strong relationships with legislators and working to educate our lawmakers in Salem.”

“The Emerald Region, from Oregon through Northern California, is one of the best and most important cannabis-producing regions in the world,” says Adam J. Smith, Founder and Executive Director of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, who also supported the bill. “In fact, this region has produced the majority of the nation’s domestic cannabis for generations.  As we move inexorably towards regulated markets, this bill brings us one step closer to sharing Oregon’s bounty, legally, with consumers everywhere.”

The bill contains a  “trigger” requiring that before the governor can enter into such an agreement, the federal government must allow such transfers in federal statute or indicate tolerance via a Department of Justice memo or policy directive. Seen as a long-shot before the session, the bill gained national attention as more and more states explore legalization policies. Under current conventions, every newly legal state must create a self-contained production industry, regardless of economic or environmental suitability.

Houlihan continued, “For years, most members of the legislature have been overwhelmed with implementing cannabis legalization. With the passage of this bill, Oregon’s lawmakers will likely factor in the many positive local impacts of our position as a global leader in cannabis production.”

A sincere thanks to the Craft Cannabis Alliance, the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, and every organization and advocate that convinced a bipartisan group of legislators to pass this common-sense bill. The cannabis export bill now heads to Governor Kate Brown’s desk and she is expected to sign it. This is a great day for the Oregon cannabis community and for the rest of the nation, particularly consumers and patients that could use a variety of affordable options at their local retailers and dispensaries. Step by step, state by state, freedom, jobs, and revenue are on the march.

Oregon rep cannabis
Oregon State Representative Rob Nosse brought a cannabis plant from East Fork Cultivars onto the Oregon House floor for the historic vote to allow cannabis exports. Photo courtesy of a press release from the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association.

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