Fresh evidence of Oregon cannabis industry’s pain

main-street-marijuina-gorilla-glue750xx5472-3078-0-285Pete Danko

Marijuana sales in Oregon slid at an accelerating rate after new testing and packaging regulations went into effect, according to a new report.

Colorado-based BDS Analytics, which says it collects actual point-of-sale transactions, said dispensary sales were $7.6 million the first week of the month, then after a gradual decline landed at $6 million in the final week.

For the month, the firm estimated sales of $29.5 million, down 8.5 percent from September and the first time since May that sales hadn’t cracked $30 million.

Late last week, after weeks of often desperate requests and complaints from the industry, state regulators issued temporary rules intended to ease the testing burden and get product moving through the supply chain again. Many in the industry, however, said the revisions fell short of what was needed.

Economist Beau Whitney, who released his own survey in late November showing more than a fifth of Oregon cannabis businesses shutting down, said the new rules were “like putting small twigs at the back of a beaver dam – the water is still backing up, with no apparent end in sight.”

In its report, BDS said edibles have been particularly hard hit since October, with sales falling from $3 million in September to $2 million the following month. Producers of those products have faced the most extensive and costly testing burden.

BDS also released November data from a subset of dispensaries that feed the firm information and found same-store sales down 21 percent from September to November, “with some stores declining more than 60 percent in retail dollars.”