Oregon’s cannabis market expected to remain lucrative post-pandemic

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A fresh economic forecast released by analysts with the state Department of Administrative Services’s Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) has confirmed that cannabis sales in Oregon have remained strong, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Moreover, Oregon’s cannabis sales revenue has not been negatively impacted by the global pandemic, which has triggered store closures and delays in business operations across various mainstream markets.

The economic forecast report suggests that the state’s cannabis sales are likely to continue growing, too. This is according to analysts from the state Department of Administrative Services’s OEA who noted in the report that despite winter sales being as predicted, sales in recent months have soared.

“[Oregon’s cannabis sales are] setting new records, even as the outlook expected sales to taper somewhat as more entertainment options reopened and employees began to return to the office,” said the analysts.

Federal data used to draw sales projections for Oregon’s cannabis market

Although the report indicates positive developments for Oregon’s cannabis market, the findings do not clearly state whether or not the increase in spending is directly related to higher demand for the plant or greater expenditure on the customer’s part; the latter of which has been attributed to March-issued stimulus checks.

“Ultimately that is the key question mark for the outlook. Just how much will demand for recreational cannabis increase in the years ahead?” wrote the analysts.

In order to gather their analysis, the researchers noted that they were taking into account federal data regarding the percentage of Oregon’s adult population that self-reported using the plant, in whatever form.

The analysts noted that, in the State of Oregon, cannabis consumption rates have lingered around the 20 percent mark over the last few years. Analysts claim that this may indicate a potential  reduction in sales for “the years ahead.”

Notwithstanding the report, the fact that cannabis remains illegal at the federal level means that data may not be accurate and that sales could exceed projections if the plant is legalized at the federal level. 

In summary, the analysts predict that short-term cannabis sales revenue in Oregon will “remain elevated due to the ongoing pandemic, strong household finances, and an economy with entertainment options that are not fully reopened.”

Economic factors could propel Oregon’s cannabis sales revenue to new heights 

Based on the report published by the state Department of Administrative Services’s OEA, Oregon’s cannabis sales “are expected to taper” as repercussions of the pandemic ease. Conversely, on a long-term basis, sales revenue is likely to continue climbing. However, sales increases may not occur for the reasons that onlookers may think.

“Previous forecasts called for relatively minimal growth in the years ahead as the recreational market matured. While that assumption fundamentally remains the same—the outlook does not build in any large increases in usage rates or increases in the customer base—growth is raised due to the underlying gains in the economy,” reads the report. “Previous forecasts implicitly assumed some combination of sales declining as a share of income, and recreational prices would continue to decline.”

A surge in Oregon’s population and wage packets will also play a role in boosting demand for cannabis on a long-term basis, say analysts, who pin cannabis tax revenue projections at approximately $304 million from 2019 to 2021. The analysis goes on to say that this figure is anticipated to swell each biennium, inflating to $462 million from 2027-2029.

“The bottom line impact is available recreational cannabis revenues are increased,” the projection concludes.