The Oregon State Senate today approved a bill that would set the stage for cannabis sales between legal states. Senate Bill 582 allows Oregon’s governor to enter into agreements with other states for the licensed interstate transfer of cannabis as soon as the federal government, which has long banned interstate trade in cannabis, indicates that such transactions would no longer be subject to prosecution under federal law.
“Oregon has a long and proud history of pioneering forward-thinking policy on cannabis,” said Adam J. Smith, executive director of the Craft Cannabis Alliance. “Oregon was the first state to decriminalize cannabis possession, in 1973, and the second state after California to legalize medical marijuana, in 1998. Now, Oregon is poised to become the first state in the country to prepare for the inevitable: licensed interstate cannabis sales.”
Smith founded the Craft Cannabis Alliance in 2016 to support locally owned craft cannabis businesses. Since 2018, the state has faced a glut of unsold cannabis that is hemmed in by the federal prohibition on interstate trade, driving prices below $100 an ounce and forcing hundreds of businesses into insolvency.
“People want to call this an oversupply problem,” said Smith. “But it’s actually a market access problem, and a political problem. The solution is to legalize licensed interstate transfer and allow legal markets to work.”
To address the crisis, Smith launched the “One Fix” campaign to champion export legislation introduced by State Senator Floyd Prozanski. Another industry group, the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, joined forces on the campaign.
“Oregon’s bill is a sensible fix for a myriad of issues that arise when you have a thriving legal market bumping up against the remnants of a failed federal prohibition,” Smith said. “Allowing interstate transfer means ending diversion to unlicensed markets. It means saving locally owned businesses, including farming families that have cultivated cannabis here for generations. And, ultimately, the future of cannabis is not 50 self-contained production industries. For environmental reasons, for reasons related to quality and consumer choice, the future is going to be free trade between legal states.”
Oregon’s export bill is on its way to the state House, where it is expected to find strong support. Meanwhile, Smith said he is already in conversations with federal lawmakers and officials in other states.
“Allowing consenting legal states to move legal, tested, high-quality cannabis from where there is too much to where there is too little is just smart public policy,” said Smith.