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Oregon cries “Uncle”

Oregon’s strategy for implementing a legal and regulated retail market for marijuana was to leave it open for anyone, anywhere to start a business quickly and cheaply within reasonable rules. They have around 4000 licenses issued, with another couple thousand in the works. They’ve now announced they will stop processing any new applications.

Once a state starts licensing they are obligated to monitor and enforce their rules, which turns out to be a much bigger task than originally envisioned. In Oregon, retail stores have been lax in enforcing age rules, production from the farmers have far exceeded their anticipated output, and some places obviously have “too many” stores and growing operations. Colorado and Washington have safety valves in their regulations to prevent excesses, which also serve to keep the enforcement costs under some control.

Oregon now has to wrestle with their success.

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