If federal marijuana laws change, Oregon would be positioned to export and import cannabis to and from other states under a bill signed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in late June 2019. It was one of three pieces of marijuana legislation she approved in the span of a few days.
The export and import bill grants the governor authority to make agreements with neighboring states where marijuana is legal to provide for lawful interstate commerce of cannabis products. But the governor can exercise that authority only if the federal government makes it legal or if the Justice Department implements an administrative policy allowing for such commerce.
As it stands, no such federal policy exists.
Should that change, however, the law is expected to offset one of the biggest problems in Oregon's legal market: oversupply. The policy would give the state's marijuana businesses the ability to export some of that excess marijuana that's driven down prices and redirect it to underserved markets in surrounding states.
The bill was approved in the House in June 2019 after being previously passed by the Senate. Brown signed it without fanfare, as part of a group of legislation she approved the same day that also included a low-level cannabis conviction expungement bill.
The governor could enter into agreements only with states that have existing legal cannabis markets, and those states must be accessible via roadways. The bill stipulates that marijuana couldn't be imported or exported via air or sea. For now, that means the state would be limited to interstate commerce with California, Nevada, and Washington.
There are additional requirements that any export or import deal would have to involve, including that cannabis products must be tracked and also meet Oregon's packaging and labeling standards.
Lawmakers who supported the bill argued that it would not only provide relief for Oregon's oversaturated cannabis market but also give the state a competitive advantage upon changes to federal law — something Brown said is a matter of “when” and not “if.”
The governor also signed in late June 2019 legislation that would give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the authority to deny cannabis license applications “based on the supply of and demand for marijuana” in the state — another attempt to mitigate the\
Feature image: With a new law on the books, Oregon is now prepared to reduce its oversupply problem by allowing interstate sales, but only if federal marijuana laws change first. Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash
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