As demand outstrips supply, Oregon weed traders cut prices

Harvest and sales have plummeted in Oregon over the past month, and the result could be cheaper cannabis for consumers.

That’s according to a report by local news station KOIN, which cites data from the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission showing “nearly $94 million was poured into the state’s cannabis industry in October 2021” as the industry last month received only about 79 million US dollars in total sales.

The station reported that the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission reported “5.3 million wet pounds harvested by all producers” last October, while last month “that number dropped to 4.1 million.”

“The September/October time frame is a harvest window for outdoor cannabis cultivation in southern Oregon,” Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, told the broadcaster. “Actual harvest time is based on when cannabis growers get their crops into the ground. Late rains postponed the planting season this year. Also, the prolonged sunny and warm weather this fall likely influenced decisions about harvest timing.”

“On the demand side, cannabis sales experienced some significant spikes during the pandemic as consumers had fewer options for using their discretionary income. Also, there was a significant amount of federal stimulus money that likely accounted for some of these increases. Since legalization in 2016, cannabis sales in Oregon have grown steadily year on year,” Pettinger added.

After cannabis retailers across the country experienced a dramatic slump in sales during the age of quarantine, the industry has come back to earth in recent months, especially as inflation continues to weigh on consumers’ pockets.

KOIN reported in August that “Oregon’s pandemic boom may be coming to an end” for Oregon’s cannabis industry as the state has seen a steady decline in revenue since April. This downward trend followed two consecutive years in which the state surpassed $1 billion in revenue.

“In June, sales were $82,723,244. It’s only the second time since the pandemic began that sales have fallen below $84 million,” the broadcaster reported at the time. Experts say several factors are contributing to the decline in dollars sold, including consumer trends, the role inflation plays in the market, and the price at which retailers can sell their products.”

Oregon marijuana consumers, feeling the pinch of inflation, may recover somewhat from this trend. As KOIN reported, “the price drop may benefit consumers who want the same quality cannabis for less money, but buyers and sellers in the industry will be disadvantaged.”

“The way all states have their system set up is that whatever you grow and produce and operate for product manufacturing and retail, everything has to be contained within the state,” said Beau Whitney, a cannabis industry consultant , opposite the local station. “If you have an ‘all in the state’ mentality, there aren’t enough consumers to handle all the supply right in the state…if there’s oversupply and not enough demand, then prices go down because the companies become desperate. They will want to sell their product.”

“Cultivators have stopped cultivating,” Whitney added. “They’ve reduced the amount of square feet or acres they devote to continuing to grow cannabis because if they grow it but can’t sell it, what’s the point? It’s like throwing money down the toilet.”

Oregon voters legalized adult use of cannabis by approving a ballot measure in 2014. Legal pot sales began the following year.

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