Oregon Marijuana Growers turn to Hemp as Prices drop

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 19, 2018.

The abundant supply of legal marijuana is driving Oregon pot prices to rock-bottom levels, prompting some nervous growers to start pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn't come with a high.

According to the Associated Press, Oregon cannabis growers are changing with the times, replacing rows of full-THC cannabis with CBD-rich industrial hemp plants.

Oregon is now home to 353 industrial hemp growth licenses, up from only 12 in 2015, making it No. 2 after Colorado among the 19 states with active hemp cultivation.

Cannabis cultivators in Oregon are giving priority to cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabis compound with near-miraculous medical application, while industrial hemp can be turned into any number of useful products like clothing, rope, ethanol and construction materials.

CBD oils and infused products, which are immensely popular in U.S. states both with or without legal marijuana, have been known to significantly decrease the effects of epilepsy. Besides, they are used for pain and stress relief, anti-inflammation, and general wellness.

Because Oregon’s adult-use legalization program offered licenses to most who applied without a cap on the number of permits, the Beaver State quickly became one of the nation’s most prolific weed producers, with Ganjapreneurs cultivating more than three times the amount of weed that Oregonians actually consume annually. Instead of dropping the price of pot to $20 an ounce, or testing federal authorities by shipping pounds out of state illegally, local growers are simply replacing their full-strength strains with CBD-laden varieties of hemp.

Eric Steenstra, president of advocacy group Vote Hemp said, "Oregon is definitely a hotbed of activity around this."

"There are a lot of growers who already have experience growing cannabis, and when you're growing for CBD, there are a lot of the same techniques that you use for growing marijuana," he added.

The legal cannabis growers of Oregon claim that they can sell off their cannabis overstock to less-green markets across the country if there was an end to federal prohibition. However, marijuana’s Schedule I status makes their claim legally impossible. On the other hand, industrial hemp has a more tenuous federal status, with products like hemp seeds, paper, and clothing sold legally around the country.

As per the DEA, CBD products derived from industrial hemp are still considered Schedule I drugs, but because industrial hemp is legal, hemp-derived CBD oils, edibles and topical are often shipped out of their home state, sold freely in health and wellness stores across the world and over the internet.

Beaver State growers, though there is possibility that their CBD products will be confiscated from the shelves of a Tennessee or Indiana health store, are confident that the hemp-derived wonder drug can change the tune of Oregon’s overstocked cannabis industry.

Trey Willson, a grower who transitioned from legal weed to industrial hemp this year, said, "We're starting to look at drastic means, like destroying product. At some point, there's no more storage for it. Whoever would have thought we'd get to the point of destroying pounds of marijuana?”

Willison further said “The (marijuana) market is stuck within the borders of Oregon — it's locked within the state," adding “But hemp is an international commodity now."

comments powered by Disqus