WASHINGTON: In the wake of what many business owners, lobbyists and advocates call a rocky implementation of recreational marijuana in Washington, Oregon regulators have the opportunity to learn from their neighbor to the north.
Many of Washington’s mistakes inform Oregon’s regulatory process, still in its early stages, of what not to do, according to a series of industry insiders and stakeholders. The same week Colorado’s Governor expressed his regret in legalizing the drug, research firm ArcView Group revealed the U.S. legal cannabis market grew from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014.
The issues Oregon must prepare to handle include access to production and retail permits, taxation, consulting medicinal industry experts, how to keep cannabis off the black market, keeping a registry of permit-holders, and taking county and city laws into account.
“We’re treating it like plutonium,” said Alex Cooley, a grower and owner of Solstice Grown in Seattle, who argues the severity of regulation in Washington ultimately hurt the industry. “It’s a plant, it’s not going to kill you.”