Proponents of a bill currently being floated before the Oregon Legislature say the measure would make Oregon home to an estimated 225 state-licensed medical marijuana retailers in the next two years. And with each retailer paying $4,000 a year to maintain state registrations, nearly $1 million would be pumped into the state's coffers.
The Oregonian reports that Oregon House Bill 3460 is already being reviewed by a budgetary subcommittee.
"The black market in our area is out of control," said Ashland Democratic Rep. Peter Buckley.
Medford Democratic Sen. Alan Bates called pot "the biggest cash crop in southern Oregon."
In a yearlong examination of its state's medical marijuana program, the Oregonian found that the drug is "widely trafficked out of state for big profits. Excess medical marijuana also finds its way into the state's booming and unregulated retail medical marijuana industry, where patients walk into cafes, lounges and collectives with cash and walk out with cannabis."
But the new bill would require business owners to pass criminal background checks, document the amount of marijuana coming into their establishments and verify that the pot is from state-registered growers. The bill stops short of requiring routine inspections by the state or by law enforcement.
In March 2011, Boise Weekly visitied the 45th Parallel in Ontario, Oregon which catered to hundreds of medical marijuana customers, including a number from Idaho.
"We know of at least 500 Idaho clients that have bought property in Oregon just in the last 60 days," the director of the dispensary told BW. "They don't want to break the law, so this is going to be their new home. Idaho is losing residents, there's no doubt about it."