The New Medical Marijuana Market in Oregon

Hey everyone! I am revisiting our favorite PNW state, Oregon, to review the perks of being a medical cannabis patient and talk a bit about this rapidly expanding marijuana market! Our very own Drs. Do and Raneiro are proud Salem, OR natives. Dr. Raneiro is even finishing up a home grow, of which he is very proud and sends me many pictures.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Patient in Oregon

  • Drastic reduction in taxes. Medical marijuana patients only pay local taxes (typically around 3%) on marijuana purchases. This reduction can be around 17-24% depending on your location

    • Based on tax alone, if you spend $145 in cannabis a month, becoming a medical patient will save you money!

  • Medical marijuana program participants have the ability to grow a greater number of marijuana plants (up to 18, compared to 4 for recreational consumers)

  • Medical patients are legally allowed to possess marijuana

The Current Oregon Landscape

Of the states we serve, Oregon definitely has the most mature medical and recreational cannabis market. Oregon was the second state in the country to legalize medical marijuana, and experienced a big surge in 2020.

While this was by no means unique, as all of our states had fairly well-documented pandemic surges, Oregon is certainly the most mature market we serve. Before the pandemic, like other mature markets, Oregon flower prices were very inexpensive, but skyrocketed throughout 2020. The price of flower increased from 300$/pound on average to 800$/pound. Oregon’s market expanded by 40% in the same period (1).

Unfortunately, Oregon has been particularly susceptible to consolidation. This basically means a few mega-corporations buy out individual retailers, decreasing competition and eliminating a lot of the authenticity that characterized early medical marijuana markets.

Decision Time

“Massachusetts-based Curaleaf, for example, finished its purchase of Cura Cannabis in Portland for $1 billion — with the backing of a Russian billionaire.”

How does that sentence make you feel? If you’re like me, the answer is, not great! But markets will always mature, and in America, that means they will bring their distinctive corporate stench.

We’re a small business, and we support other small businesses. There’s convenience and polish with a lot of chain dispensaries but the profits are going, by and large, to white guys from out of state. Which is fine, but I personally feel that it is time for a change.

I recommend that you do the same- do some research and see what chains are locally owned, and which ones fit into your vision of a healthy economy. Checking a dispensary’s website and ownership has become pretty routine for us (when we’re in mature markets, not Illinois where there’s only like 3 dispensaries).

Things we like include the map function on Leafly, which allows you to filter by black-owned businesses, and other budding services that list minority- and women- owned enterprises.

Food for thought!

Dr. Lee

Citations

1) https://www.opb.org/article/2021/01/08/oregon-cannabis-growth-consolidation-clout/

2) https://www.wweek.com/potlander/2020/06/09/a-quick-hit-guide-to-black-owned-cannabusinesses-in-oregon/