Oregon - Page 3

US Attorney Providing Price Support for Oregon Cannabis


MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Don Fitch

The state of Oregon has been producing high-quality cannabis for decades. The climate, especially in the southwest corner of the state, is nearly perfect for the plant’s needs and the state’s progressive cultural climate supported people experimenting with marijuana cultivation. Now, with full adult use legalization, prices have dropped substantially. The drop in price per pound has caused havoc for growers, but now Oregon’s US Attorney is poised to provide price support.

For many decades, Oregon has been a leader in cannabis interest, use, legislation, and cultivation. As an agricultural crop, cannabis has long reigned as the state’s leading earner. When most old growth forests disappeared, logging waned as a prosperous industry and was partially replaced by cannabis. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts. Then, 20 years ago, the state’s voters legalized medical cannabis, creating retail markets and allowing legal home growing by those with a medical card. Finally, in 2014 Oregon voters chose to legalize all cannabis adult use and allowed for four plant cultivation and state-licensed adult use grows. The state does produce a lot of cannabis.

Enter Billy J. Williams, US Attorney for Oregon. Newly encouraged to prosecute pot by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Williams is about to do just that. Of all the 94 US Attorneys responding to Session’s ending the protective Cole Memo, the Oregon US Attorney seems the most hawkish. He invoked a widely publicized “marijuana summit,” whined about Oregon’s overproduction of cannabis, and vowed, “Make no mistake. We are going to do something about it.

Presumably, the Oregon US Attorney’s statement means some Oregonians will soon be charged with federal marijuana crimes. Current law makes possession of non-trivial amounts of cannabis one of the gravest federal crimes, punishable by the most severe penalties. Reversing a small measure of sanity from the previous administration, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has instructed his 94 US Attorneys, including Oregon’s Williams, to seek maximum harm against those charged with drug crimes. Sessions cheers mandatory minimums and asset forfeiture. Some Oregon entrepreneurs are likely soon to suffer both.

For the last half-century, Oregon has likely always produced more cannabis than it consumed. Doubtless, some was distributed to eager markets in other states. With nearly a thousand recreational grow licenses already awarded by the state, and hundreds more on the way, combined with the right to grow 4 plants by all Oregonians and 12 medical plants per household, it is difficult to see how legal Oregon production will not continue to outpace in-state consumption. And this is before considering production by non-legal growers. Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a great friend to the Oregon cannabis industry, somehow assures that legal grows will not be federally prosecuted.

So, what will be the effect of aggressive federal marijuana law enforcement by the US Attorney for Oregon?

  • Some Oregonians will have their lives ruined by federal prosecution. Mandatory minimums will be served, property will be seized.
  • US Attorney Billy J. Williams will get a pat on the back from marijuana-crazed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • Oregon will continue to produce more cannabis than it consumes.
  • The price per pound of Oregon cannabis will stabilize, even rise as it has always done during periods of coercive federal enforcement.

The irony of any federal enforcement action by Williams against Oregonian growers will only serve to provide needed price support for others. The Oregon grow rush is already abating, discouraged by an ever-dropping the price per pound. Federal prosecutions will artificially prop up prices, encouraging increased production.

The true problem, of course, is not over-production of marijuana in Oregon. The problem is the idiotic federal inclusion of cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act, especially its bogus classification as a Schedule I drug. Delisting cannabis from the CSA would allow states their rightful role in marijuana policy and would allow Oregonians to sell their valuable cash crop in other states, just as is done now with wine and timber.

One set of true harms associated with a small percentage of Oregon marijuana grows are environmental crimes. Some pirate growers in woodlands divert streams, poison with pesticides, spew trash, and otherwise degrade the environment. If US Attorney Williams really wants to help his state with marijuana enforcement, this is where he should start. And end.







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Oregon acrobatics and tumbling takes first home meet in win against Hawaii Pacific


Coming off of its season-opening win against Concordia, Oregon acrobatics and tumbling kicked off their first home meet with a victory against Hawaii Pacific. The day ended 267.595-280.100 favoring the Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday night.

The Ducks won the compulsory event in rocky fashion and recorded a score of 38.45, while 38.30 was put up by Hawaii Pacific. The Ducks swept the first two rounds, winning each heat.

“We definitely started off rough in the compulsory event, but we talked about leaving that in compulsory’s, and turning it around going in to the next part of the meet,” head coach Keenyn Won said. “I think the girls had a ton of energy tonight. We got to execute all the things we wanted to execute, and we worked on a lot of changes from our meet on Monday.”

In the second event, the Ducks kept with trend of sweeping heats, and went on to extend their lead to a flat 68, as the Sharks trailed with a total of 66.85

Before going into halftime, Oregon took the pyramid event with a nearly perfect score of 29.50. The Sharks attempted a comeback but finished the pyramid event with a score of 28.40. The Ducks put together a first half total of 97.50, and the Sharks followed with a score of 95.25.

“I definitely felt like we were on the same page,” Katie Bachman said. “We felt really connected, and we had a really good spirit out there. We weren’t perfect tonight, but we definitely can build on this.”

After hitting their stride early in the first half, the Ducks kept that same pace straight away to begin the second half.

The Ducks swept heats yet again in the toss event, the final score being 29.10-27.50. This advanced team meet totals to 122.75- 126.60 favoring Oregon.

Oregon saw its first slip up in the tumbling event, where in heat one of duo’s, freshman Caitlynn Emick slipped off of the end of the mat after her last rotation. It was not long before the Ducks regained balance in heat two, putting together a nearly perfect trio score. Oregon did just the same in its quad heat of tumbling.

The Sharks took its first heat in the first heat of the tumbling event, with a score of 8.95 over Oregon’s 8.80. Besides first heat, the Ducks took all other heats in the tumbling event.

The team event was by far the most energized performance of the night. The Sharks of Hawaii Pacific and Oregon finished with the score, 97.20-90.77 in the Ducks’ favor.

The final meet total left the Ducks towering the Sharks 280.100-267.595. This marks the second win of the Ducks’ 2018 season, and the team is still looking forward to all of the competitors they have yet to face.

“We want to take every competitor,” Won said. “We told ourselves we are going to continue to increase our scores every single meet. That is our goal. …We have two hard weeks ahead of us before we see Baylor.”

With nothing but preparation time, the Ducks now begin training for the team’s next meet in against Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. PT.

Follow Jack Taylor on Twitter @taylorjack36

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Marijuana: Falling Prices and Retailer Saturation?


Recreational marijuana prices are falling and, in much of the state, retail options are plentiful. It appears to be a cannabis consumer’s dream, or at least what voters hoped for back in 2014 when Measure 91 was passed. Now, it has not been an entirely smooth ride to date, and concerns remain. Chief among them, as the new Secretary of State audit spells out, would be enforcement and ensuring products are tracked and accounted for. Additionally, potential saturation issues for growers, processors, and retailers indicate that some industry shakeout, or market consolidation is likely.

First, marijuana prices are continuing to decline. This is true here in Oregon, and in Colorado and Washington. Much of this is to be expected as businesses become more experienced in the newly legalized industry, which allows for efficiency gains. Furthermore, increased competition can lead to lower prices as well. Now, given Oregon levies the marijuana tax based on price, our office lists price as a risk to the outlook. Lower prices, everything else equal, would lead to lower revenues. However, lower prices should also lead to larger consumption. Demand curves do slope down. Further complicating the marijuana industry is the ongoing presence of the black market, which also competes on price, and can undercut the legal market at least in part due to the lack of regulations, product testing, etc.

While lower prices are a clear boon for consumers, they can lead to problems for some businesses. This is particularly true for those unable to adjust due to their business model, fixed costs, debt loads, and the like. For example, a firm may be profitable at a certain price point, however marijuana prices are falling by 10-20% per year. If that firm is unable to lower its operating expenses enough, accept lower profit margins, etc. then it can be in financial trouble. Grumblings within the industry suggest this is happening, at least in part due to market saturation. Now, is it truly a concern from an industry wide perspective, or from a consumer’s point of view? Unlikely. However, for any particular business it can be devastating.

This second chart tries to frame recreational marijuana market saturation here in Oregon relative to Colorado and Washington. In all three states, the number of recreational marijuana retailers is about the same, or just over 500. However, once you adjust the numbers based on population, it is clear that Oregon has significantly more stores. This does not necessarily mean Oregon is over-stored. It may be, but it may also be the case that the other states are under-stored. In fact, Colorado currently supports more marijuana stores overall due to their robust medical marijuana market. The error bars in the chart are an effort to show both the total number of marijuana storefronts (recreational + medical), in addition to just the recreational stores.

Now, there are an additional 140 or so retailer applications in the OLCC system. Should these stores open, it would push Oregon significantly past Colorado, even on a population adjusted basis. What all of this does mean is there is more competition for every Oregon recreational marijuana dollar, and this will likely increase. As such, average sales per retailer in Oregon are lower, leading to the industry shakeout or market consolidation concerns or expectations. Pete Danko had a good article in the Portland Business Journal recently about this.

As economist Beau Whitney notes, it’s easy to envision a long-run outcome for marijuana that is similar to the beer industry. One segment of the market is mass-produced and lower priced products. This will be the end result of the commodification of marijuana. Margins will be low, but due to scale, businesses remain viable. These are more likely to be outdoor grow operations as well, due to costs. Even in a world of legalized marijuana nationwide, it is plausible that Oregon, along with California, would remain a national leader in this market due to agricultural and growing conditions in the Emerald Triangle.

The second segment of the marijuana market would be similar to craft beer today. This segment would include smaller grow operations of specialty strains, higher value-added products like oils, creams and edibles. Such products will require and command higher prices. However, as our office has noted previously, it is here among the value-added manufacturing processes, in addition to building up the broader cluster of suppliers, and ancillary industries that Oregon will see the real economic impact of recreational marijuana. If all we have are growers and retailers, there will not be a large impact. Furthermore, the long-term potential of exporting Oregon products and business know-how to the rest of the country remains large.

Even if this market bifurcation materializes, it does not mean it will be an entirely smooth transformation. Conditions today are great for consumers, but potentially worrisome for some businesses. It will be interesting to watch how the market and industry continues to evolve. Our office’s forecast expects sales to continue to increase due to both new customers as usage increases and social acceptance of marijuana rises over time, and due to black market conversion. It’s the latter that is the most worrisome from a long-run perspective of industry viability. This is why enforcement and compliance are key issues being addressed by policymakers and industry professionals today.

Report: Senator groped women at Capitol

SALEM (AP) — State Sen. Jeff Kruse not only subjected two female senators to unwanted touching, he groped or gave lingering hugs to many other women working at the Oregon Capitol, according to a report released Tuesday by an independent investigator.

Women’s tennis wins opening road match against Georgia State

Oregon women’s tennis defeated the Georgia State Panthers 6-1 Saturday morning in its opening match through the teams trip in Georgia.

Freshman Julia Lilien, in her doubles debut, alongside Julia Eshet, took down Georgia State’s Damira Muminovic and Lara Vovk, 6-0, at the No. 2 spot.

Alyssa Tobita and Shweta Sangwan clinched the doubles point for Oregon with a 6-3 win at the No. 1 position.

“We did a better job of attacking today,” said Head Coach Alison Silverio. “Transition was a focus last week for practice and I was happy with our execution of it during the match. We continue to trust the process and develop each and every day.”

During singles competition, three matches went to three sets. At the No. 2 spot, Sangwan played against Kristen Rehse, ranked No. 108. After losing the first set, 5-7, Sangwan crawled back to win the match in the three sets by a score of 5-7, 6-4, 1-0.

Eshet put up the first points for Oregon with a win, 6-1, 6-1. Meanwhile her Duck teammates, Tobita and Rifanty Kahfiani, both won with mirror reflection performances with 6-1, 6-3.

Lilien’s win against Damira Muminovic made for her third straight with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 score at the No. 5 spot.

Oregon’s only loss on the day came at the No. 4 spot as Daniela Nasser gave up a win after three long sets to Arina Taluyenko, 7-5, 6-7, 1-0. All but one of Nasser’s singles matches have gone into a third set this season.

Oregon will remain in Atlanta for its match against coach Alison Silverio’s alma mater, Georgia Tech, Sunday at 9 a.m. PT.

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John Bennes played key role in building design at OSU

In its 150 years Oregon State University has benefited from the influence of individuals too numerous to count. Engineers, astronauts, war heroes and business leaders. Athletes and artists. Politicians and Pulitzer winners. And a scientist who won a pair of Nobel Prizes.