PORTLAND, Oregon — When Oregon legalized recreational marijuana, the state decided to make the market as free and accessible as possible. It didn't cap licenses, or restrict access to people living in state. It also made entry super cheap — growing licenses in Oregon go for as little as $1,000, compared to tens of thousands of dollars just across the border in California.
The hope was to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get in on the new and exciting market. And it worked really well. Too well, in fact. Fast-forward just a few years, and Oregon has found itself in a pretty strange position.
"There's more weed being produced by our legal system than can be consumed by Oregonians," said Steve Marks, who’s in charge of regulating Oregon’s recreational marijuana and liquor industry.
Marks is putting it lightly. Oregon's roughly 1,100 licensed producers growing weed are growing about twice as much as the state's 4 million people are actually consuming. And that's creating all sorts of problems.
This segment originally aired December 6, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.