Controversies

Are regulations crippling Oregon's fledgling marijuana market?

Oregon is rolling out its new recreational cannabis market, but pro-pot groups say state regulations are already choking producers and retailers.

The regulations, implemented Oct. 1, mandate the most stringent pre-sale testing requirements of any regulated cannabis market in the United States. The rules, which apply to dispensaries, growers and anyone who transfers marijuana for ultimate sale to consumers, set guidelines for pot labeling, transferring, packaging, testing and concentration limits.

Don Morse, owner of the Human Collective, a Portland dispensary, says his business has suffered from the new regulations. The company has laid off five employees since October and is struggling to maintain its supply of marijuana products.

“We went from one set of tests that seemed to be effective, where no one got hurt, to where we are today where the shelves are empty,” said Morse, who also serves as director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, an industry trade group.

While marijuana advocates were looking forward to the full launch of the recreational retail market, they expressed reservations about the industry’s ability to comply with the stricter regulations that accompanied that launch.

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