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Southern Oregon's Green Economy

OPB | June 23, 2010 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:30 p.m.

A recent article in Oregon Business made waves in this state and around the country — and grabbed our attention as we were preparing for a trip to southern Oregon. The article looked at the economic effect of marijuana, tracing it from glassblowers to fertilizer makers to medical-marijuana-card recommenders. It painted a picture of an above-ground economic engine that has sprouted from (but not replaced) an underground trade.

At the same time, both law enforcement and pro-pot activists have complaints about the gray areas in Oregon’s current system.

In fact, pot has been all over the news in the last few months. NPR explored many financial and legal questions in their multi-part series “The New Marijuana.” Initiative efforts throughout the country aim to liberalize marijuana laws. And in Oregon, backers of Initiative 28 hope to put a measure before voters in November that would bring marijuana dispensaries to the state.

In our first of three shows from southern Oregon, we’ll dig into the economic impact of pot in the region. Is it possible to disentangle the money generated from the legal and illegal trade in marijuana? How would dispensaries change the equation?

Do you grow medical marijuana as a cardholder or a caregiver? How much money do you spend on your crop? Are you a baker, or a gardening consultant, or a glassblower? How is business? And how do you assess the economic impact of pot in your neck of the woods?

Note: this show is a part of our Rural Economy Project.

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