Oregon grew three times as much cannabis as it smokes — and that could change the weed game forever

Oregon grew three times as much cannabis as it smokes — and that could change the weed game forever

Oregon lawmakers are considering interstate sales

VicesJanuary 07, 2019 By Reilly Capps

Last year, Oregon grew at least three times as much legal recreational cannabis as its residents use. Nearly 70 percent of the legal recreational weed goes unsold, a report from an anti-drug government agency found.

That means sacks and sacks of unused bud sitting in storehouses.

Altogether, 1.3 million pounds of unsold, legally-grown flower isn't being used, the state announced, as reported by Willamette Week.

How much weed is that? 

That's equal to half a billion 1-gram joints. Half a billion!

That weighs the same as 359 Subaru Outbacks.

And if Oregonians keep smoking legal weed at their current rate, it would take them seven years to smoke it all, Willamette Week calculated.

And that's not even counting the illegally grown weed. Or the medical weed.

Counting all that medicinal, gray-market, and black-market bud, some estimates are that Oregon grew ten times as much weed as it uses.

This oversupply happened because Oregon didn't cap the number of grow licenses it hands out, unlike Colorado, which doesn't have quite the bumper crop. Any Oregonian with the money for a permit could throw seeds in the ground and get growing.

Prices have skydived. You can't hardly give Oregon ganja away.

photo - cannabis billboard in Southern Oregon

[A billboard in Oregon offers a promotion for a penny pre-roll. Oversupply has shot prices through the floor. Photo from Shutterstock.]

This may end up being more than a quirky story about how a bunch of over-excited stoners grew too much of their favorite plant.

Because, see, they'll do something with all that weed. And what Oregon ultimately does with the mountains of weed is almost sure to change the marijuana game forever.

First, they might challenge the federal government. See, the feds say you can't transport weed across state lines. (Technically, the feds say you can't even grow weed, but everyone seems to be ignoring that.)

But Oregon lawmakers are writing up a bill that would allow them to move that weed into nearby pot-friend states — especially Washington, California and Nevada — reports the state capital's newspaper, the Salem Statesman-Journal.

If they do — and the feds don't arrest everyone in sight — other states could flip the bird to Washington and allow interstate exports. Which could be the first step toward a national marketplace for cannabis.

Second, many because prices are so low, many cannabis growers are switching to hemp — which is cannabis that doesn't get you high — which you can use for medicine and fiber export out of state, MJ Biz Daily reports. That could lower the prices for hemp, and spur producers to use hemp in all kinds of things, from soap to rope to clothes.

For decades, Oregon grew more weed than Oregonians could smoke. It's a remote state, with little connection to the federal government, and the southern part of it has near-perfect conditions for growing marijuana. They just shipped much of that black market weed out of state.

Now, their oversupply could change the face of legal cannabis forever.

[Cover photo: fields of hemp in southern Oregon. Drive around southern Oregon, and you'll see fields and fields that look just like this. Photo from Shutterstock.]