Black Market is Oregons Most Notorious Export

Black Market is Oregon's Most Notorious Export

Oregon is the Epicenter of national Cannabis Production.

The black market is alive and well. According to the Oregon State Police report, Oregon generates between 132 tons and 900 tons of cannabis. That is more cannabis than Oregon can conceivably consume per the Oregon State Police. They clearly underestimate their citizens. However, the real issue is that more and more cannabis is leaving the state to be sold elsewhere. And the Feds are looking at Oregon officials wondering what they intend to do about it.
Even though Oregon has implemented tacking methods to aid in efforts of control, it’s clearly not enough. But what else can they do, they already have cameras in every dispensary. Along with grower’s information, tracking numbers on all cannabis products and a strict budtender to consumer sales protocol.

Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions wants to change the rules.

The Feds want to interfere with Oregon’s s cannabis laws, but the Cole Memorandum restricts federal marijuana law enforcement. However, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is criticizing congressional leaders about the federal government’s hands-off approach to medical marijuana. The governors of Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska wrote a warning to Sessions in April.
The governors believe that altering the Cole Memorandum “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.” Making marijuana illegal again is not going to fix the problem. Cannabis will still be sold out of state and the black market will grow even larger once again.  Because of this, Congress is strongly considering renewing the Cole Amendment for the next fiscal year.
Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer said that Sessions is “out of step” with most members of Congress. Many members of Congress are supportive of the idea to end the failed prohibition on marijuana. According to Blumenauer, cannabis has left Oregon for decades. But now-a-days we have better mechanisms to control it. He is correct, and people are continuing to create better methods of cannabis tracking and control.

Tracking technology is racing to keep up with the market.

Tina Kotek is the speaker of the Oregon House. She said that lawmakers wanted to ensure that they’re trying their best to protect the new industry that they’re supporting. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board says it’s replacing its current tracking on Nov. 1st.
The new tracking system is supposed to be highly secure, more reliable, scalable and flexible. In California, they approved using a tracking system run by Lakeland, a Florida-based Franwell company. Franwell tracks cannabis using bar-code and radio frequency identification labels on packaging and plants.
“The tracking system is the most important tool a state has,” said Michael Crabtree. Crabtree runs the Denver-based Nationwide Compliance Specialist Inc. They help tax collectors track cash-heavy industries like the cannabis industry. Unfortunately, the systems aren’t 100% locked tight, they rely on user’s honesty.
According to Crabtree, “We have seen numerous examples of people ‘forgetting’ to tag plants”. And Colorado’s tracking doesn’t apply to several non-commercial marijuana caregivers. That doesn’t mean that they’re not trying to keep better track on cannabis distribution. California Sen. Mike McGuire said that it will take years for a fully operational and legal market will be in full force.

The Feds can’t catch’em all.

Even if there is a large percentage of marijuana leaving the state of Oregon, the Feds can’t catch them all. There’s a lack of authority and resources for them to snuff out every operation. There is a strong incentive for growers to take the risk because they can earn thousands of dollars per pound. And the punishments for getting caught are not as severe as they used to be.
Anthony Taylor is a licensed marijuana processor and lobbyist. He says that he used to grow large cannabis crops that were hidden from aerial surveillance. “In those days, marijuana was REALLY illegal. If you get caught growing the amounts we were growing, you were going to go to prison for a number of years.”
The large profit incentive for selling cannabis in the black market is real. And according to Taylor, the illegal sale and distribution of cannabis will stop when it becomes fully legalized nationwide. New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker agrees with Taylor. He introduced a bill to Congress on Aug. 1st to fully legalize marijuana in the U.S.

Even if marijuana becomes legal nationwide, there may still be a black market.

Currently, there is another incentive for distributors to sell cannabis underground. Lab testing remains expensive. Growers must take several samples to get lab tested which can costs thousands of dollars. The wait times are long because there is a shortage of testing labs, and the tests are strict. If one sample test negative for pests or mold, then the entire batch is considered a loss. Labs also test for THC and CBD percentages which adds to the expensive costs of testing.

medica marijana

Sold: Starting a Medical Grow Business

Before starting a medical grow business, you need to do a ton of research.

Federal, state and local laws create a vast web of interconnecting rules that are unique to each medical grow (even if they are in the same city and industry). Navigating this miasma is both arduous and tedious by design but is also vital to remaining in business. The best place to start is with your states official rules.
You can’t simply put some seeds in backyard dirt or throw thousands of dollars around and expect to get anything competitive out of it. And this is a competition. The time, effort and skill needed to get a plant from seed to sale is a skill that can be developed over several years. A skilled hand can take a good strain and make it great while an unskilled grower can kill everything.

But it takes more than growing the dankest buds to survive.

Growing great herb is a prerequisite to a business based around growing weed. But equally important is the ability to manage costs and duplicate results. It doesn’t matter how much you can sell your product for. If it costs more to produce than what you get, it isn’t a viable business.
“Even if you get your costs under control, you still have to worry about duplication. If you can’t produce the same product every time, you have a problem.” Mike Boynton, the master grower for Oregon Imperial farms told me in an interview. “Changing anything in the environment from fan placement to light duration will change how your plants grow and therefore your bottom line.” The more people and the bigger the farm, the harder it is to control costs. If you can’t get it under control with 5 plants, you will never be able to with 5000.

The Marijuana industry is an especially challenging one.

Getting a business off the ground in the weed industry is a lot harder than most other industries. Cannabis is one of the oldest crops known to man and you can bet there are a lot of talented people out there trying to do it better and cheaper than you. Besides having to deal with the standard problems of location and competition, cannabis businesses are heavily regulated and lack traditional support infrastructure like banking services.
Marijuana businesses lack the ability to use banking services because it remains federally illegal. This is not to say that banks refuse drug money. SBC was fined $1.9 billion by the U. S. government for laundering cartel drug money in 2012. Yet the cannabis industry is forced to work on a cash basis regardless of how big the costs.

There are a variety of rules regarding how to grow legally.

With over half of the nation having legal weed in one form or another on a state level, there have been many ideas about what should be allowed. Each state has taken different measures to ensure a safe and effective cannabis industry. Some states require seed to sale tracking and vertical integration while others prohibit delivery or drive-thu services.
In addition to rules and regulations about where and how to provide services, there are also rules around what kind of equipment is needed in order to get a license. This further compounds the complexity with many states have a different set of rules for medical grows and recreational operations. As an example, Washington merged their medical grow and recreational grow rules for a single comprehensive program while Oregon kept them separate.

After all, growing weed isn’t cheap.

Even in places with ideal growing conditions like Northern Cali, Florida or Hawaii, plants still need water, nutrients and protection from pests/diseases. In areas where the weather is too dry or cold, growing indoors becomes a necessity. The cost of equipment pales in comparison to the cost of keeping the growing environment perfect.
In addition to lights; pumps, timers, fans, filters and air conditioners all use electricity. Keeping the juice flowing can be a challenge in itself. Grows with more than one room may even need to have a more powerful line run by the electric company to keep from blowing transformers. All of these little additions add up quickly and can quickly eat up all the potential profit.

A lawyer, an accountant and a lobbyist walk into a grow room.

If you plan to operate a successful company growing a federally illegal substance, you need to have some specific talent on your team. This team needs at least a lawyer, an accountant and a lobbyist to run interference while the head grower does their work. Without someone covering each area, the chance of getting blindsided is astronomical.


Find someone who specializes in canna-based business compliance and criminal cannabis defense. Ask others in your area who they recommend. Don’t forget to check online databases like,, to name a few.


Look for someone with experience in the industry. Overly “creative” accounting can get you in hot water so make sure you can trust them. In addition to searching online for local tax professionals, ask colleagues for referrals. Asking others in your area who they use and why is also a great way to narrow the search for the right accountant.


Look for someone with the time and energy to represent your cause. Their job is to keep an eye on local and statewide changes that pertain to your business. They are also there to help prevent others in the community from effectively banning your business or engaging in sneaky tactics to close you down. There are no lists/registries for this, gotta tap into that network to find the right person..

Head Gardener

Look for someone with botany experience. Many master gardeners hang out in local hydro stores or are at least known by them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be picky. This is the person who will dictate the initial and final quality of the product and choosing the wrong person can have dire consequences.

Skipping the support staff can have dire consequences.medical grow

Many states ban the operation of any marijuana based business (including a medical grow) within a certain radius of schools. But most states don’t ban schools from opening near a marijuana businesses. There is normally nothing explicitly stopping a preschool from opening next to a dispensary or grow location and putting you out of business.
A good team is the difference between closing up shop or staying open for years. It does you no good to spend millions of dollars on a medical grow business just to have a preschool open next door a week later and shut you down. Better to have the staff on hand to stay open and deal with the issue before it gets finalized than not.

You need to find just the right spot.

Besides schools randomly popping up, there is a lot to consider when starting a grow business. The first thing most growers work out is where they plan to grow. Most medical grows are done on a personal consumption scale. If the plan is to make it profitable, it takes a bit more consideration.
Because cannabis remains federally illegal, landlords are almost as hesitant as banks are to work with weed entrepreneurs. Even in the case of a medical grow, it can be almost impossible to get permission to start. In most cases, growers need to own the land/building they plan to operate in or receive written permission from the land owner before getting licensed.

Security is a major concern as well.

Each state has very specific rules on which types of security are needed for a medical grow to remain in compliance. States may require barriers like walls be erected around grow sites. They also might require closed circuit cameras linked to cloud backups but it depends.
Whole sectors of the economy have been dedicated to the outright eradication of cannabis for decades (I’m looking at you Big Prison, Pharma and Tobacco). As cannabis moves from illicit trade to regulated market, there is bound to be pushback from entrenched interests. Even a medical grow can face opposition from local religious or political groups that don’t like cannabis.

The market is growing.landrace 2

More and more people are getting in on the Green Rush and starting to grow cannabis. Like the Gold Rush that sparked westward expansion, the hype and obvious wealth being generated is causing a migration of talent and willpower. Fortunes are waiting to be made by talented and driven individuals willing to put in the work.
In the end, most of the states where weed has been legalized were ballot measures which means they were supported by voters. With the majority of the population clearly supporting cannabis reform, cannabis is primed to continue growing for years to come. Getting a good team will make every other part of the process easier.

Do you agree?

Or do you think I’m off my rocker? What advice would you give to someone just getting started? What do you wish you knew before starting a medical grow? Let us know in the comments down below. We would love to hear your take. And as always, thanks for reading.

Marley Natural Launches Product Line in Portland Oregon

Marley Natural Launches Product Line in Portland, Oregon

The Marley name has always been synonymous with the cannabis community and culture. So it comes as no surprise that the Marley family has their own cannabis-based product line. This company known as Marley Natural, offers a product line that includes pre-rolled joints, smoking accessories, sun-grown herb, beauty and hygiene products, as well as oil cartridges for vaping. Marley Natural originally launched their product line in Southern California on Bob Marley 71st birthday which was February 6th. Since their original launch on the legends birthday, they have also introduced their product line to the medical marijuana market in Northern California. This week Marley Natural announced that they have also launched their product line within the recreational cannabis market in Portland Oregon.
When it comes to cannabis flowers the Marley Natural line is available in four different categories. These categories are Marley Green, Marley Red, Marley Black, and Marley Gold. These four categories naturally represent the four primary types of cannabis that is available on the market today. These four types include Sativa, Indica, Hybrid, and CBD strains. Of course, all cannabis offered in the Marley Natural product line is cultivated in the state of Oregon to the highest of cultivation standards.
Marley Natural is not just another cannabis product line. The company has been built upon the morals and values of the legend Bob Marley himself and they work directly with several different organizations throughout the culture that are dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition and helping those in the communities affected the most by the War on Drugs. Marley Natural is dedicated to ensuring  that the product they bring to market is of the highest quality and their profits are put to good use helping those affected by cannabis prohibition throughout  minority communities. For example, on Saturday, August 27th, they are helping host Rise Up Expungement Day and are helping picking up the tab to pay the costs associated with having the cannabis charges expunged from the records of offenders in Oregon that are unable to pay the fees themselves. This is just one way that Marley Natural is sharing the love. Have you tried a Marley Natural product? If so, weed love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Oregon on Track to Make a Lot of Money from Retail Cannabis Taxes

Oregon on Track to Make a Lot of Money from Retail Cannabis Taxes

The Oregon retail cannabis market has traveled a rough road since being legalized back in 2014. When the citizens of the state voted to legalize retail cannabis for adults over the age of 21, there was already an existing medical marijuana program in the state. In 2015, on October 1st, medical marijuana dispensaries in the state were able to start selling a limited selection and quantity of cannabis to retail consumers over the age of 21.
The Money is Rolling In Already
When sales began in October there were no immediate taxes applied to the sale of retail cannabis. This changed on the 1st of January when the state implemented a 25% sales tax on all recreational cannabis sales in the state. So far since January when they started collecting taxes, the state has collected almost 25.5 million dollars in taxes from retail or recreational marijuana sales. This figure was released on October 22nd by the Oregon Department of Revenue and includes the sale of all marijuana-based products, including marijuana-infused edibles which went on sale in June on the retail Market.
The 25% tax that is currently being charged on retail recreational sales in the state is expected to decrease to just 17% on October 1st. This is when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes over the regulation and oversight of the recreational market. The state is estimating that by the end of the year they will have collected roughly 44.4 million dollars in marijuana taxes. Not too shabby for the first year of taxed sales in the state!
According to estimates, it is going to cost the state almost 29 million dollars to regulate marijuana of which 12 million will be covered by retail cannabis taxes. The remaining balance will be covered utilizing the money that comes from licensing marijuana businesses in the state. Whatever is left from the marijuana taxes at that time will be distributed according to the original laid out formula in the law.
Where All the Money  Is Going to Go
The law states that 40% of the taxes will go to the state’s common school fund and 20% of the taxes collected by the state will be used for mental health, drug, and alcoholism services. 15% of the left over taxes will go to the Oregon State Police, 10% will be going to city law enforcement and 10% will go to county level law enforcement officers. The remaining 5% will go to the Oregon Health Authority for early intervention, prevention, and treatment services for alcohol and drug abuse.
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Great Interest Is Being Shown In Oregon Retail Marijuana Market

Great Interest is Being Shown in Oregon's Retail Marijuana Market

In 2014 voters in the state of Oregon voted yes on measure 91 to legalize recreational marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. With an existing medical marijuana program already in place, medical marijuana dispensaries were able to open their doors for retail sales on on October 1st, 2015. The move to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to cater to retail consumers was taken to allow time for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the recreational market in the state, to properly implement a retail industry. Retail marijuana dispensaries are set to open their doors on October 1st of 2016.
Over the last few months, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has received over 1,300 recreational cannabis related business applications. At this time Oregon has not implemented a cap on how many recreational facilities can be implemented in the state. So far they have approved almost 200 licenses with the majority of them being granted to cultivators. Many applications have been delayed as they have either been incomplete or there has been questionable logistics surrounding applications for outdoor cultivation.
With the process of approval taking between 45 and 60 days any medical marijuana dispensaries that are hoping to transition into the recreational market are urged to get their applications submitted immediately as they only have until the end of the year. On October 1st of 2015 when medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to open their doors for retail consumers no taxes were being applied to recreational sales. This did, however, change on January 1st when Oregon implemented a 25% sales tax on all retail cannabis sells. This retail cannabis tax is expected to decrease to 17% once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes control over retail sales this fall.
Oregon offers many benefits for retail cannabis consumers. Unlike many other states where cannabis is legal for recreational purposes, Oregon offers cannabis social clubs where cannabis consumers can socialize with like-minded individuals. This is not something you currently see in states such as Colorado, which pioneered recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. If you are a resident of the state you are allowed to cultivate a small number of cannabis plants for personal use which is something that is not legal next door in Washington state. Oregon also offers many spectacular natural landscapes including mountains and oceans which are loved by individuals throughout the cannabis community.
If you are looking to move to a state where you can blaze and not worry about going to jail or if you are looking to open a retail cannabis business, Oregon would be a great place to check out as the market is set to grow expeditiously in the state in the coming years.
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