New Senate Bill would allow export agreement for Oregon marijuana

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2016, file photo, a marijuana harvester examines buds going through a trimming machine near Corvallis, Ore. Three years after Oregon lawmakers created the state's new legal marijuana program, marijuana prices in the state are in free fall and the craft cannabis farmers who put Oregon on the map decades before legalization are losing their businesses to emerging chains and out-of-state investors. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

OREGON - Oregon's cannabis industry is in peril according to members of the Craft Cannabis Alliance. And they say the only solution is to begin exporting the product.

Cannabis began as a way for Travis Mackenzie to help his wife through a traumatic brain injury.

In 2008, he co-founded TJ Gardens, but in 2015 when recreational cannabis became legal in Oregon, he found new competition.

"I wasn't the only person who wanted to grow weed for a living, there was a lot of us," said Mackenzie. “And it's been a challenge to sell all of our product honestly because we have such a limited market."

Adam Smith, President of the Oregon-based Craft cannabis Alliance, says when marijuana was legalized, there was already a profitable black market.

But in the legal market, out of state export is off the table, and recreational marijuana prices in Oregon dropped 50 percent in the first few years.

Eugene Senator Floyd Prozanski has wanted to open the out of state market for years. In fact, in 2017 he introduced a bill to do just that. But it was met with hesitation as cannabis is still federally prohibited. But this year, he introduced Senate Bill 1042 and he thinks lawmakers will be on board.

The bill would allow the governor to enter an export agreement with another state that also legalized cannabis. But for now, it's only adjacent states, since cannabis cannot be transported by plane, water or railroad.

He says with Oregon being a name brand in cannabis, it's important, looking to the future of cannabis as a craft agricultural product.

Smith and Prozanski say Nevada will be a target market since they don't have as favorable of a climate to grow cannabis.

Prozanski hopes to have Senate Bill 1042 on the governors desk in the first half of this year.

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