Saturday, October 10, 2015

Keep calm ... and toke up!

It was about four in the afternoon when I pulled into the gas station a few days ago.  On the first of this month, if you want me to be precise about the date.  Gawd!  Can I continue with my story now?

So, anyway, I gave my credit card to the gas station attendant.  "Fill up regular, please" I said.  I always, always add that "please" even though filling gas is exactly what the transaction is all about.  He got the pump going and returned the card to me.

"What's with the crowd across the street?" I asked him.

"Oh, it has been there all day long, right from about nine in the morning.  People want their pot" he laughed.

I had forgotten that on October 1st recreational marijuana was becoming legal here in Oregon. But then how does it matter to me when I have never been anywhere near pot and potheads.

"They started lining up well before the store hours" he said with more chuckles.  I suppose he is like me who can be amused very easily.

The amount sold is, ahem, high ;)
Retailers sold more than $11 million of marijuana during Oregon’s first week of legal recreational sales, outpacing the early business done in other states that have legalized pot, according to the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association.
Oregon retailers had sales of $3.5 million by the end of opening day, saidCasey Houlihan, executive director of the association, the Statesman Journal in Salem reported. By contrast, Colorado’s first week of sales reached $5 million. In Washington, sales during the first month hit $2 million.
So, what made Oregon's sales so much higher right from the first day?  The same conditions that every other economic activity require:
 One reason Oregon posted stronger early sales was the existing medical marijuana infrastructure. More than 250 medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon have told the state they will sell to recreational customers. By contrast, Colorado had 24 stores on Day 1. Washington had just four, and a year later still has fewer than Oregon.
Oregon also has a robust supply of marijuana that’s grown to support medical marijuana users and the black market. Companies have invested in massive warehouses in Portland to grow the drug indoors, and Southern Oregon has some of the nation’s best conditions for outdoor cultivation of marijuana.
Growers don’t face strict regulations yet, so the supply can more easily flow into retail stores than it did in Washington and Colorado.
I guess the legalization has begun at the right season--it has started cooling down, the daylight hours are getting shorter, and soon the rains will be here.  All the more convenient, perhaps, to stay indoors and toke up.

Recreational pot is one heck of a job-creation opportunity, argues this lawyer who is also the cho-chair of the legislature's committee overseeing the legalization:
 if we get the new industry right, Oregon could become for marijuana what Napa Valley has become for wine. Our economy would be more robust
Hey, if wine can not only be a huge industry but also spawn wine critics, connoisseurs, and sommeliers, then why not for marijuana, eh.  What a strange world in which we live!

I am so happy with the drug that I live for ;)

Caption at the source:
Co-owner Traci Watson helps a customer at Maritime Cafe in Gladstone
on the first day of legalized recreational pot sales in Oregon, October 1, 2015 in Oregon.


Ramesh said...

Yup. To each his own poison.

I am all for legalising weed in your country. These first week numbers are all just a flash in the pan - somewhat like iPhone's first week sales. Over time it will settle down. The trick is to handle it the way cigarettes are handled. Launch a campaign against its risks, put strict controls on advertising and selling to minors and leave it at that. Sales will show a long time declining trend, even if it peaks in the short term.

Added benefit. Your prison system is falling apart, largely because of the number of people locked up because of weed. Suddenly prisons will become empty.

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, with the gradual awareness of the sheer stupidity in sending people to prisons because of nonviolent drugs issues, we will break the stranglehold the criminal justice industry has had over the rest of us and will begin to redirect some of that taxpayer money into productive uses. The madness that started with Nixon's war on drugs is slowly easing up after four decades!

I don't think the sales will decline. It didn't happen in Colorado or Washington. I would expect to see sophistication in the pot market. Like how there are now a gazillion flavors of coffee or a bazillion wine options, I suspect that the pot business will also grow and diversify. Let us see. As a non-user, I will follow the updates with a clear head ;)

Now you have yet another reason to visit Oregon .... oh, you don't do toke up either ... muahahahaha

Anne in Salem said...

The pot farmers are in for a rude awakening when they find all the regulations and rules that they have blissfully ignored. As in, the DOA will have a field day because not one of the pesticides the farmers are using is legal for use on cannabis. And those Southern Oregon farmers can't use federal water for irrigation because pot is illegal federally. And the EPA will rake in lots of penalties when they look into the lack of sanitation and water treatment. And DOL and BOLI are expected to take a keen interest in the labor practices of such farmers. And, of course, banking is illegal with marijuana money since it is illegal federally. Not sure how the farmers will pay all their payroll taxes when the feds require EFT not a wad of cash over the counter. Can you imagine paying property tax with a pile of $20s?

A side business will appreciate the boom in marijuana use - the drug testing labs.

Sriram Khé said...

In simple terms, fun times for people like me who will have that much more to think and write about--without getting high!!! ;)