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Oregon’s Cannabis Market Shrank in 2022, Report Finds

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Feb 08, 2023   
Cannabis buds in an open jar on a counter.

Image credit: iStock

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Less legal cannabis was bought in Oregon in 2022 than in 2021. That’s the main finding of a new report from the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC).

According to the state cannabis regulator, $994 million was generated in cannabis sales in 2022, a decrease of 17% or so from the $1.2 billion generated in 2021. This drop marks the first reduction in legal sales in the Oregon market since adult-use legalization in 2015.

The decline in sales can be partly attributed to a drop in the prices of products, which, in turn, can be attributed to a build-up of supply from previous years, according to the OLCC.

“The leftover supply of both usable marijuana and value-added THC products is likely to continue the downward pressure on prices,” the OLCC wrote in a recent statement on the report.

But these low prices have an upside: they can attract more consumers away from the illicit market. In positive news for state cannabis suppliers, the report also found that the demand for legal products reportedly amounted to 63% of the market – a jump from the 52% market share it had in 2021.

Back in October of that year, a county in southern Oregon declared a state of emergency due to the sheer number of illegal cannabis farms and related cannabis crimes in the area. The county’s police services and agencies said they were struggling to investigate many of the illegal grow sites and crimes due to a lack of resources and funding.

In a letter to accompany the OLCC’s new report, the head of the commission, Steve Marks, alluded that these illicit threats have since been effectively challenged.

“In concert with public health and public safety partners we have warded off illegal activity that has undermined Oregon’s legal cannabis industry, upturned our communities, and ravaged our natural resources,” he wrote in the letter published on February 1.

“We will look to the Governor and Legislature during the 2023 legislative session for direction on how to further strengthen our regulated marijuana system by providing stability to the industry, maintaining our obligations to keep our communities and the public safe and secure, and fulfilling our consumer protection responsibility to Oregon’s cannabis users.”


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