TUMWATER, Wash. (AP) — The email went out to legal cannabis growers around Washington state, alerting them that another of their colleagues had gone under.
“Liquidation sale,” it said. Attached was a spreadsheet of items up for grabs: LED grow lights for $500 apiece. Rotary evaporators for hash oil, $10,000.
Across the Columbia River in Oregon, where the state’s top marijuana regulator recently warned of an “existential crisis” in the industry, it’s an open secret some licensed growers have funneled product to the out-of-state black market just to stay afloat.
California’s “Apple store of weed,” MedMen, is teetering with millions in unpaid bills, while the Canadian cannabis company Curaleaf has shuttered most of its cultivation operations in California, Oregon and Colorado.
Along the West Coast, which dominated U.S. marijuana production long before states began to legalize it, producers face what many call the failed economics of legal pot.
There is vast supply, thanks to great growing conditions and a wealth of expertise, but any surplus remains officially trapped within each state’s borders due to the federal ban on marijuana. Prices have plunged and producers have struggled.
“I’m at rock bottom,” said Jeremy Moberg, who owns CannaSol Farms in north-central Washington and, like many licensed growers, complains that the state’s 37% cannabis tax leaves virtually no profit margin for producers. “I’m tired of running a failing business.”
No one in the industry expects a fractured Congress to help out anytime soon by legalizing the drug, allowing pot businesses to deduct expenses or even just easing banking restrictions that frequently cut them off from loans or credit.
Instead, some are pinning their hopes, however faint, on President Joe Biden’s administration clearing the way for marijuana trade among states that have legalized the drug. That would allow the West Coast — with its favorable climate and cheap, clean hydropower for indoor growing — to help supply the rest of the country, they argue.
Read full article