As marijuana laws change around the nation, the State of Oregon has worked to create framework not just for the medical market that exists under current law, but also the recreational market it expects will be legal either via the state legislature or voter initiative.
HB 3460 will legalize dispensaries in Oregon Mar. 3, after state approval of individual facilities, which is big news for the 200 or more medical marijuana facilities already operating in the state, as well as for anyone looking to open a business in the cannabis industry in Oregon.
Last week, The Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference held its first meeting to address the existing and newly formed laws, and what they mean for investors and stakeholders. The event was organized by Alex Rodgers, owner of Ashland Alternative Health and presented by Northwest Alternative Health with several other sponsors from the industry such as the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), as well as some new faces, such as the local security company, Bear Creek Lock that was vending their security systems for the new facilities coming to the industry.
Keynote speaker Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group, an investment group that matches highly funded, accredited investors with those looking to get their cannabis ideas into motion with funding from investors or high interest loans, reviewed the current national legalization landscape.
Dayton focused on the ancillary businesses springing up in the industry, or the “picks and shovels” of the cannabis market, in a comparison to the California Gold Rush. He implored those present to think of things like packaging, soil, lights, nutrients and especially extraction devices that don’t use butane or other harsh solvents when starting new businesses.
“Business is the most powerful tool for political change,” said Dayton, who also serves on the Board of Directors for Marijuana Policy Project.
Arcview Market Research estimates the cannabis industry brought in gross revenues of $1.53 billion in 2013 and projects $2.57 billion in 2014, an increase of 68 percent, making it the fastest growing industry in the country.
Dayton’s message was clear, the market is wide open for growth and there is plenty of room for serious businesspeople and investors.
According to speaker “Radical” Russ Belleville, host of the Radical Russ Belleville Show at www.420radio.org and writer for High Times Magazine and Huffington Post, from 2000-2011 the Oregon market saw growth of 44 percent last year and early projections are predicting a boom with the passage of HB 3460.
Anthony Johnson, Chief Petitioner for New Approach Oregon as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Oregon Cannabis Industry Association, gave his insight on HB 3460, explaining that a lot of the new rules for things like security of facilities to testing of cannabis, as well as rules for labeling and transfers. Johnson says current testing rules are written incorrectly, citing the wrong pharmacopoeia as reference for the bill.
Representative Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), viewed as a hero in the Oregon cannabis community, discussed implementation of HB 3460. Buckley was greeted with a standing ovation before and after his speech. Buckley addressed SB 1531 with the possibility of local bans as well as SB 1556, which was introduced January 22nd, 2014 to legalize cannabis in Oregon for adults over the age of 21.
“[My colleagues and I] have put our political careers on the line for this community,” Buckley said before assuring the group he is dedicated to a legalized industry.
Although the conference left both attendees and speakers excited and encouraged about the future of the industry in Oregon, many are wondering what happens next. Will local bans continue to impede business? Will Oregon legalize legislatively? Both?