A bill that would put a two-year hiatus on new cannabis production licenses in Oregon has passed through the Senate and now heads to the House.
SB 218 was launched in response to huge overstock levels in the Beaver State, which already has enough supply to meet consumer demand for the next six-and-a-half years. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission admits that there has not been enough diversion away from the black market in the state. Oversupply has pushed prices down to “historic lows” and several producers are struggling to turn a profit from their operations.
This has provided the state with a headache and SB 218, backed by Gov. Kate Brown, seeks to address the issue. The bill has just passed through the Senate with an 18-0 vote and it now heads to the House before it might reach Brown’s desk.
Bill sponsor Sen. Floyd Prozanski said Oregon is dealing with “a flood of cannabis production”. The state wants to support a healthy, flourishing marijuana industry, but it is worried that oversupply has caused product prices to plunge. The oversupply is going into the black market, which cannabis legalization was designed to curb, and the scheme aims to protect the existing legal trade.
Existing growers would be allowed to renew their existing licenses during the two-year moratorium and they could also apply for a new license if there is a change in ownership or grow site location.
Lawmakers shot down a similar bill earlier this year, but there appears to be more support for this one.
Lawmakers across the U.S. are busy wrestling with cannabis legislation right now. The Illinois legislative session ends in five weeks and the race is on to push through a bill that seeks to legalize medicinal marijuana before that deadline. The eagerly anticipated bill is expected to be released in the coming days.
A marijuana decriminalization bill is heading to the Hawaii governor’s desk after the House approved the bill by a vote of 35-16, while the Senate voted 22-3 in favour of it. It proposes a $130 fine and no jail time for possession of fewer than three grams of cannabis.
However, Lt. Gov. of Texas and Senate President Dan Patrick declared a cannabis decriminalization bill “dead” in the Lone Star State.