Last week, the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of SB 582, the cannabis exportation bill that will allow cultivators to participate in interstate commerce. The bill will now move onto the Oregon Senate floor vote after the committee voted 5-2. The latest version of this cannabis exportation bill will only allow this type of transaction if the federal government legalizes cannabis or issues an opinion or memorandum tolerating interstate sales.
Senator Shemia Fagan is hopeful for this piece of legislation as Oregon marijuana businesses will have an immediate advantage if and when the federal government decides to legalize cannabis. She pointed out that, “Oregon’s industry is basically first in line for when the feds do act. If we wait until the feds act, then all the other states will be working with their legislatures to then pass, and Oregon will kind of be at the tip of the spear and take advantage of what could be a lucrative opportunity for Oregon industry.”
One of the Republican Senators to oppose the cannabis exportation bill expressed that he would rather wait for marijuana to be legalized on the federal level before voting for such a bill. Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown doesn’t want to wait on nationwide legalization to start making changes. If the Department of Justice chooses to de-prioritize prosecuting interstate marijuana commerce, Governor Brown would be satisfied to start working with other states exporting Oregon grown cannabis.
Oregon has continually had a surplus of cannabis and having the ability to export marijuana will not only help reduce overproduction but also remedy supply issues in states with high demand. The cannabis exportation bill stipulates that any transactions across state lines must ensure enforceable public health and safety standards, and establish a regulatory system capable of tracking the interstate delivery.
The cannabis exportation bill’s co-sponsor, Senator Floyd Prozanski, noted that, “The governor would not be able to move forward unless there was something like a new Cole memo, or something happening in Congress to permit this type of transaction, or something else coming out of the U.S. Attorneys as to tolerance.”
Executive director of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, Adam J. Smith, praised the committee’s decision and sees unlimited potential for exporting high quality cannabis. “We had an exciting week as export moved forward in Oregon, and we are laying the groundwork for a national campaign. We are pushing so hard to open new markets for Oregon’s world-class cannabis by 2021.” Smith stated.
The Oregon Governor has not officially backed the cannabis exportation bill and is still focussed on working to help cannabis businesses get access to banking services. The legislation will be given a Oregon Senate floor vote likely next week but no official date has been set. If it passes, at the very least Oregon can start their interstate cannabis exportation from day one. This would be a huge boost to their already thriving industry. In the last fiscal year Oregon generated $82 million in tax revenues for the state based on the Oregon Department of Revenue.