Due to the federal ban on marijuana, many states who legalized pot have surpluses of weed trapped within their borders. Many growers are being forced to either liquidate or turn to the black market for a chance at turning profits. Federal legalization of marijuana is the best solution for these growers. With the current affairs of Congress, many find this unfeasible and are hoping for the legalization of marijuana trade between legalized states. This bill would require President Biden to do something productive. Still, it would allow the West Coast to supply the rest of the country, thus removing the financial burden on growers and bolstering the economy.
Lawmakers in Washington, Oregon and California, the country’s top marijuana producers, in anticipation of the Justice Department’s new marijuana policies, approved a “trigger bill.” This bill authorizes the government to begin the interstate cannabis trade, should the federal government allow for it. Washington and Colorado, spearheading the road to legalization, have stricter regulations on their markets in comparison to the bolstering markets of California and Oregon. The current market presents the probable dominance of West Coast weed growers in the interstate market.
Washington and Oregon, the first to legalize marijuana in 2012, were forced to make concessions to the Department of Justice. Washington cannabis producers are banned from accepting “out-of-state investments,” and growers have facility size restrictions preventing them from expanding the industry. California’s lax regulations have allowed for the legal weed market to thrive within the state and will likely give them an edge within the interstate market. Washington weed is also amongst the most heavily taxed cannabis in the country, raking in over half a billion dollars in government funds.
Oregon producers face similar issues from government regulations on weed production. TJ Sheehy stated that “Cannabis in Oregon is like corn in Iowa,” forcing Iowa corn growers to only sell corn within their borders would kill Iowa producers. Oregon cannabis growers are in “an existential crisis,” possessing 3 million pounds of excess marijuana, the nation’s worst oversupply. Without the legalization of interstate commerce, Oregon’s hundreds of licensed growers will continue to lose. For Oregon’s recreational users, this surplus has drastically decreased the price of weed, with a pound that once went for upwards of $3,000 now costing anywhere between $100-$300.