At the start of this year, Oregon lawmakers have been steadily working towards the goal of eventually having separate recreational and medical marijuana markets. The Oregon Health Administration will run the medical marijuana market and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would govern the recreational market – in the meantime, adults 21 and older are able to purchase marijuana through medical marijuana dispensaries.
Since October, the early access program for adult use of marijuana has been allowing the sale of marijuana flower as well as young marijuana plants – however, until now things such as edibles and extracts have been completely off limits for anyone who does not hold a medical marijuana card.
This last week there were two big decisions made for the future of adult marijuana users and the selection they are offered. The first thing is Governor Kate Brown signed a bill which changes the marijuana industry in Oregon in a big way – by integrating the medical and recreational markets.
What this means is that medical dispensaries will be able to sell taxed marijuana to adults 21+ without a medical marijuana card; and recreational dispensaries will be able to sell un-taxed marijuana to anyone with a valid medical marijuana card. On top of bringing the two markets together, it is also allowing stores to sell single low-dose marijuana edibles and extracts to adults 21+ during the early access program
Now, the second change was made by the Oregon Health Administration – and not everyone is going to be happy with this decision. They have decided to move forward with their original plan of capping the THC content of edibles sold on the recreational market at 5 milligrams – which is exactly half that of marijuana edibles sold in Colorado and Washington.
“We felt that a cautious approach was probably the best approach,” he said (Andre Ourso, manager for Oregon’s medical marijuana program), adding that consumers disappointed after eating a 5 milligram serving can eat two or three more. “I think this is the best compromise we could come to.”
The idea behind this decision was in the hopes that it would make things a little bit safer in the instances where children might get into a THC infused edible while the parent is in another room, as well as to ensure that inexperienced marijuana users are less likely to eat too much and end up with an uncomfortable afternoon.
While it may not be the most popular concept, it might not be an entirely bad thing. If a child were to get into a bag of gummies and eat one that contains 5 milligrams of THC, that wouldn’t create nearly the experience of 10 milligrams. Or if a new user eats that entire bag without bothering to see how much they were consuming, having a 50 milligram cap would reduce the effects from that kind of experience.
It’s going to be interesting to see how things work out in the coming months and years for the growing cannabis industry in Oregon, especially when it comes to edibles and extracts. Will this move reduce the number of poison control calls and emergency room visits? Or is that just an inevitable part of having such an industry in the first place?