Legislators considered a handful of cannabis bills in Salem Thursday. One would allow the state to limit production based on market demand.

A recent study by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission found six-and-a-half years’ worth of marijuana sitting on shelves. It also found twice as much cannabis as needed is being produced each year.

As a result, retail prices have dropped precipitously.

Much of the excess is going into the black market and the state is worried that could prompt the federal government to take action against the legal market.

As a result, legislators are considering Senate Bill 218, which would allow the OLCC to refuse marijuana production licenses based on market demand and other relevant factors.

Cannabis business woman Margo Lucas told the Senate Committee on Business and General Government that the state needs to be able to control the market.

“These people are going to go out of business. If you don’t support us, they’re going to take your tax money with them,” said Lucas. “We are not asking for protection. We are in free fall.”

OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks told the public hearing he’s prepared to move forward and enact Senate Bill 218.

“In a relatively short amount of time, we have got a 55 percent rate of Oregon market share of consumption of marijuana in our legal system,” Marks said. “I think that’s fantastic when you compare that to what California has experienced and we’ve got there very very quickly.”
 
Other bills under consideration by lawmakers would allow cannabis cafes in Oregon and establish a program to ensure responsible retailers.