Small Town Ingenuity Thrives in Oregon’s Marijuana Industry
News from www.OregonMy420Network.com
Back in 2015, when the state of Oregon legalized recreational marijuana, a majority of the more conservative Eastern Oregon did not jump on board with the ‘green’ rush. In fact, one small town called Ontario, which sits on the Idaho border, voted against allowing pot sales in 2016.
However, an even smaller town called Huntington that sat 30 miles northwest of Ontario allowed dispensaries to be opened and became popular with Idaho weed tourists almost overnight. Residents came across the border and surged upon this small town, spending a great amount of their cash in order to purchase weed and weed products. Reports came out that the small town of Huntington was suddenly receiving over $100,000 in tax revenue from a single marijuana shop, which totaled half of the 400-person city’s annual budget. Ontario then quickly changed their minds and approved pot sales the very next year.
For those who may not be aware, Ontario, Oregon is home to the popular brand of tater tots: Ore-Ida. It is also a weekend trip for residents of Boise and Idaho’s Treasure Valley. The visitors to this town that claims only 11,000 residents are reported to congregate mostly in a shopping center that plays home to four cannabis dispensaries. The City Manager reports that their neighbors in Idaho make around 1,600 “unique trips” to Ontario every day, for both tax-free shopping at big box stores as well as for weed, which is still completely prohibited in Idaho.
In 2020, Ontario had $92 million in cannabis sales; this is according to Portland Business Journal, or $2,857 for every resident of Ontario’s Malheur County. Multnomah County, which encompasses most of Portland, sold only $378 in weed for every resident in 2020. The $1.5 million in tax revenue Ontario saw from pot sales in 2020 was four percent of the city’s annual budget, and the town is expecting to actually double that number in weed taxes in 2021.
This is just one town that has, quite literally, been transformed into a marijuana ‘boom town’, thanks to the fact that their bordering states still have not legalized recreational use of the drug. With 18 states now seeing legalization, all of the other states, with the exception of California and Alaska are sharing a border with at least one state where it remains illegal, allowing their border towns to rake in the cash that has become a huge help to both their town and their citizens.
In the last five months alone, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota have legalized marijuana, and they have been motivated to do so because of the windfall of money that residents of neighboring states bring in. With new laws passed, twenty regions have become rich with border-crossing cannabis buyers.
There is so much positivity from this, that even those small towns in Oregon are paying more attention to getting extra money from using hemp waste as livestock feed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) went so far as to recently award nearly $300,000 to Oregon State University to fund research into feeding spent hemp biomass to cattle. The focus of this study and research is to find a way to use hemp byproducts safely as stock feed, taking full advantage of their nutritional and potential medicinal properties to improve animal health and product quality.
Oregon State University is actually a ‘hot spot’ for hemp research. It’s home to the Global Hemp Innovation Center, which is the largest facility of its kind in the U.S. of A. The focus is a beneficial one. Feeding hemp products to livestock is only banned because of the concerns that the THC in weed could end up accumulating in meat and milk if it’s fed to cattle. Even though hemp, by legal definition, contains very low levels of THC, the University must scientifically prove that fact in order to move forward with lifting the laws.
Oregon is one state that will continue to work hard and find new, innovative ways to use these versatile products. Livestock will thrive, and the state’s coffers will expand as they continue to collect tax money on the product, itself. This is one state that many others are looking at as a role model for the next steps they can take in order to increase the cannabis industry and, in turn, help both their residents and the environment at the same time.
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