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Oregon Cannabis Sales Top $1 Billion in 2020

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Cannabis sales in Oregon reached over $1 billion in 2020, setting a record for the state despite the ongoing pandemic.

Data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission shows cannabis sales jumped from $795 million in 2019 to the $1.1 billion sold in 2020. Sales began to rise in March when state Governor Kate Brown instituted a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Sales increased by 20 percent for that month and continued to climb.

Sales surpassed $100 in one month for the first time in May and continued to climb for the following three months, with a high of over $106 in July. The state ended 2020 strong, totaling nearly $96 million sales in December.

Adult sales totaled over $1 billion alone, with the remaining nearly $110 million in sales coming from medical cannabis sales. After selling between $60-$70 million in medical cannabis the past three years, sales shot up more than $40 million to reach $109.2 million, a 58 percent increase from 2019.

Medical cannabis sales are not taxed in Oregon, but recreational sales carry a 17 percent state tax as well as a three percent local tax in most cases. State revenue is expected to be over $150 million, with much of it going to substance abuse screening and programs that address addiction. Measure 10, a new law that was passed in November, ensures the states uses a significant portion of the tax revenue on those programs. Measure 110 also decriminalized small amounts of all drugs, something Oregon had previously been planning.

“Legal cannabis sales levels have stayed fairly constant after a significant rise early in the pandemic, but we don’t know to what degree this will last,” said OLCC Spokesperson Mark Pettinger. “Does this reflect what other segments of our economy have experienced—expanding or contracting primarily because of the pandemic’s role as a market disrupter—or is this the new normal?”

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Cannabis Consumption Could Affect Fertility Rates

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Results from a recent study conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and published in the Human Reproduction journal, show evidence that women who consume cannabis could be less likely to get pregnant.

According to the results of the study, which is called “Cannabis use while trying to conceive: a prospective cohort study evaluating associations with fecundability, live birth and pregnancy loss,” women who tested positive in a urine test for cannabis were 40 percent less likely to get pregnant during each menstrual cycle. A difference in reproductive hormones was also apparent between those who consumed cannabis and those who did not. “These results highlight potentially harmful associations between cannabis use and reproductive health outcomes,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Study participants were tested for six months while actively trying to get pregnant. They reported whether they used cannabis, and provided at least two urine samples, one at the start of the study and another six months later, or at the time of pregnancy.

According to researchers, other studies have suggested that cannabis can change the lining of the uterus, but those studies were only conducted on animals. More research is necessary in order to show how cannabis affects fertility in humans.

Additionally, even the researchers themselves admit that only a small number of people in the study consumed cannabis, which resulted in a small sample pool. It also didn’t account for cannabis use in partners. So, while it shows there is a link, it only exhibits minor evidence of a correlation between cannabis and fertility problems.

The study also involved only those who had experienced a previous miscarriage, so more information would be required in order to show that the same findings are present in cannabis users who have not had miscarriages.

For the time being, the authors are cautioning that those trying to conceive should be cautious about using cannabis, according to an official statement. Until more information is gathered, however, there are no conclusive findings about how cannabis impacts fertility in women.

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Michigan Prosecutor Will No Longer Pursue Cannabis Cases

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Eli Savit, a prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, Michigan, recently stated that he will no longer pursue charges over possessing entheogenic substances (such as mushrooms or ayahuasca) or cannabis.

To support his decision, Savit argues that drug laws encourage racial disparities, and neither cannabis nor substances like psilocybin mushrooms are dangerous. Recreational cannabis is legal in Michigan, and the city of Ann Arbor decriminalized entheogenic substances.

“The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office will no longer file criminal charges for unauthorized use or possession of marijuana or cannabis, regardless of the amount at issue,” the new directive explains.

In addition to this, Savit Tweeted about this decision. “We’ve long known that marijuana is as safe as alcohol. It thus makes no more sense to charge someone for having ‘too much’ cannabis than it does to charge people for having ‘too many’ bottles of wine. And we won’t, any longer,” Savit wrote.

This won’t be the end of all cannabis- or entheogen-related cases for Savit, as special circumstances or in large-scale distribution cases would be the exception. However, there will be a “a general presumption against filing criminal charges” for such substances.

“The Prosecutor’s Office will not contest any application for expungement where the underlying charge was for the possession, use, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana,” the directive continues. “This policy applies both to marijuana-related conduct that is now lawful in the aftermath of 2018’s Proposal 1, as well as marijuana-related conduct that is not.”

“Criminalization of entheogenic plants simply doesn’t make sense,” the prosecutor said in the official statement. “They’re not addictive. They don’t cause violent behavior. And other jurisdictions have successfully decriminalized them without any negative consequences.”

While the cannabis industry is new, and entheogens are barely legal, prosecutors such as Savit are making it a point not to criminalize low-level cases of possession and distribution.

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Strain of the Week: Midnite

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Whoever first said that “nothing good happens after midnight” clearly was not enjoying life. Maybe it was said to perpetuate safety, specifically toward rambunctious youth who went gallivanting around in the forest at night. Or maybe it was more geared toward superstitious beliefs about witches or paranormal entities who roam around when the sun goes down. Either way, whoever said it definitely hadn’t seen a Gremlins movie, which contrary to the plot which warns against feeding a Gremlin at night, is one of the weirdest and best 1980s movies ever (change our mind). Ultimately though, cannabis after midnight can be a treat, especially when it’s a strain like Midnite.

Midnite is a cross between Bubba Kush and Chem #4. Bubba Kush is well-known for its earthiness, deep pine aroma and ability to induce sleep (not to mention that, as reviewers put it, it’s so widely loved that consuming it is often like “greeting an old friend at the airport”). Chem #4, which is also short for Chemdog/Chemdawg, is a zesty hybrid, complete with scents and flavors of lemon, that delivers full body effects of relaxation and euphoria. Between these two powerhouse strains create a unique strain child that’s full of potential.

Described as light green and denser than a dogwood tree, Midnite strain samples were absolutely covered in frosty trichomes—so much that it almost seemed like it was covered in freshly fallen snow, or even might glow when placed in a dark place. Surprisingly, the bud didn’t have much of a scent until it was ground up, revealing a potent chemmy aroma that made our seasoned reviewers salivate. Upon inhalation, the flower was robust but not harsh, leading to full body relaxation that didn’t feel lethargic. It won’t stop anyone from getting a full night’s sleep when ready to crash, however, and the rest of its qualities were deep and relaxing.

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