Oregon Senate OKs temporary freeze on marijuana production

FILE - This March 22, 2019 file photo shows a bud on a marijuana plant at Compassionate Care Foundation's medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. U.S. retail sales of cannabis products jumped to $10.5 billion last year, a threefold increase from 2017, according to data from Arcview Group, a cannabis investment and market research firm. The figures do not include retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Senate moved forward with a plan to limit the state's supply of recreational, legal marijuana.

Lawmakers voted 18-10 Monday to freeze marijuana productions at current levels for the next two years. The state will not issue new production licenses to marijuana growers, but current growers will be able to renew their licenses.

Democrat Sen. Michael Dembrow from Portland said the state produces so much marijuana that Oregon has enough of the drug to last it for the next 6.5 years. That surplus has caused prices to plummet.

Lawmakers shot down another version of this bill earlier this month. Republicans said at the time that the marijuana industry should be regulated by the free market, not the state.

Some Republicans reversed their vote this time around saying the amended proposal is narrower in scope.

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.

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