Oregon Fires Up Recreational Marijuana Sales

October 1st 2015

Kyle Jaeger

On Thursday, pot sales in Oregon were officially underway. The state legalized marijuana for recreational use earlier this year, and market trends suggest that it's going to bring a sizeable economic boom to the Beaver State. Two other states—Colorado and Washington—have already legalized recreational pot, setting strong examples for Oregon as it goes forward.

In Colorado, competition and overcapacity have forced pot prices down as more and more businesses seek opportunities in the marijuana industry. At the beginning of 2014, the state had 156 retail marijuana stores, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement division. By December 2014, there were more than 320 marijuana retail stores, and that number continues to rise.

In turn, pot costs are going down in Colorado. Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist with Convergex, along research assistant Jessica Rabe conducted a marijuana store survey in the state and found that the price fell from about $50-70 for an eighth of one ounce to $30-45. And the number one reason that the businesses reported cutting the price tag on pot is competition, Forbes reported.

But competition isn't a bad thing. It's good for Colorado, and it'll be good for Oregon, too. For Oregon, the challenges of meeting the demand for marijuana sales will be even greater because they have Washington, where the substance is already recreationally legal, on its northern border and California, which has legalized medical marijuana, to the south.

Just because they're cutting costs in Colorado and elsewhere in the U.S. doesn't mean that the market is doing poorly. Quite the opposite, in fact. Colorado expects to bring in $125 million in tax revenue from pot sales for 2015, more than double what it made last year. Of course, Oregon plans to let individual retail stores set their own price for the rest of the year, tax-free, so it won't be until 2016 that the state really begins to profit from legalization.

"We already have notice that people are going to be camping out," Joe Dunne, the owner of Zion Cannabis in downtown Portland, told Reuters prior to. "Obviously it's going to be a big day, and we do expect a big turnout. People have been buying weed one way for 50 years. That’s going to change [Thursday]."

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Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, January 13, 2015