The burgeoning market for legal recreational marijuana continues to suffer growing pains, as the amount produced and the number of new business people hoping to cash in challenge state regulators' ability to keep up.
Attendees at the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference on Sunday called for protections for established marijuana producers who started as medical growers and now are at risk of being overwhelmed by out-of-state interests driving prices down by producing larger quantities.
The wisdom of letting out-of-state operators into the Oregon market can be debated, but it's an established fact now, and local producers are going to have to live with it.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, charged with regulating marijuana production and distribution, has a backlog of applications from those wishing to enter the industry. OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks told the conference the agency is doing its best to catch up on applications, and urged attendees to take to the state level their concerns over regulations that affect small growers.
Further adjustment of regulations may be necessary to respond to the evolving industry, but it's important that the state not try to micromanage the emerging marketplace. It is unlikely that all those who have gone into the marijuana business will be able to stay in business, and that's as it should be.
With recreational legalization, marijuana production now feeds a retail marketplace that is subject to the law of supply and demand. No state agency can or should be expected to protect private enterprise from competition.