Should Oregon put limits on Marijuana producers?

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Should Oregon put limits on Marijuana producers?

Marijuana producers want the state of Oregon to step in and limit the number of marijuana producers.

They say there’s more farms, processors and sellers than Oregon needs at more than 3,000 licenses. It creates a glut of pot. It makes it challenging for businesses to stay afloat.

The Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon asked the state to put a limit on the number of licenses during last year’s legislative session. That bill, House Bill 2515, prohibited the state from accepting applications for new licenses. It did allow license holders to transfer their licenses. The bill died in committee.

The new proposal, as reported by OPB, is that before new licenses could be issued there would have to be less than one license per 7,500 smoking age adults in the state. Processing and wholesale licenses would require a threshold of one license per 12,500. The state is apparently below the threshold now. Existing licenses could still be bought and sold.

Our free market bias screams: No, let the market sort this out. Why is it good that the state protect the economic interests of a type of business?

Of course, it already does so. It does so for utilities. It does so for liquor sales.

Fewer licenses may mean less need for enforcement. That seems appealing.

Is recreational marijuana doing great things for Oregon? It can feels like a statewide test of how well Oregonians deal with an expanded culture of permissiveness. Recreational marijuana has had economic benefits, social benefits and social costs.

There may not be a right answer for legislators to find on limits on licenses. It’s going to go wrong in some way. Maybe, they get to choose how they want it to go wrong.

The best metric might not be to limit licenses only according to the number of smoking age adults. A better metric might also take into consideration how many businesses the state can effectively regulate and the ability of the state to compensate for the social costs of legalization.

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Region: Oregon

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