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From Schedule 1 to Schedule 3: Exploring the Potential Impact of Cannabis Reclassification

In a landmark development, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently recommended a significant change in the scheduling of cannabis, proposing to move it from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 3 drug. This recommendation has sparked debates and discussions across the nation about the potential implications of such a shift. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of drug scheduling, the actors involved, the significance of this change, and the pros and cons associated with the de-scheduling of cannabis.

How are drugs currently scheduled through the Controlled Substance Act?

The scheduling of drugs in the United States is governed by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which classifies substances into five schedules based on their perceived medical utility, potential for abuse, and safety. Schedule 1 is the most restrictive category, while Schedule 5 is the least restrictive. Currently, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, indicating that it is considered to have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Schedule 1

Schedule 1, where cannabis currently resides, is a classification that places it alongside substances like heroin and LSD. This classification has long been a point of contention in the United States, as it places cannabis in the same category as drugs that are widely recognized as highly addictive and dangerous with no accepted medical use.

Schedule 2

Schedule 2 drugs, on the other hand, include substances like cocaine and opioids, which are acknowledged to have some medical applications but are subject to strict regulations due to their potential for abuse and addiction. The placement of cannabis in Schedule 1 has been a barrier to conducting extensive research into its medical potential, as it imposes stringent restrictions on obtaining research permits and funding for studies.

Schedule 3

Schedule 3 drugs, such as certain anabolic steroids and medications like Vicodin, are recognized as having a moderate to low potential for abuse and accepted medical uses. The proposed move of Cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 signifies a significant shift in how cannabis is perceived by federal authorities.

Schedule 4

Schedule 4 drugs are substances that have a lower potential for abuse relative to Schedule 1, 2, and 3 drugs, but they still carry a risk of physical or psychological dependence. These substances have accepted medical uses and are commonly prescribed by healthcare professionals. Schedule 4 drugs include medications such as Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Valium (diazepam), which are primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. They are subject to regulations to minimize the potential for misuse or diversion.

Schedule 5

Schedule 5 drugs are the least restrictive category under the CSA. These substances have a very low potential for abuse relative to the higher schedules and are primarily used for medicinal purposes. Schedule 5 drugs include medications like cough preparations containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams (Robitussin AC, Phenergan with Codeine) and medications containing low doses of opiate medications for antidiarrheal purposes (Lomotil, Motofen).

Unlike Schedule 1 and 2 drugs, which are subject to strict regulations and oversight, Schedule 4 and 5 drugs are more readily available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. The primary focus with these schedules is to ensure that these substances are used for legitimate medical purposes while minimizing the risk of abuse and dependence.

What are the steps to take this from a simple recommendation to legally making Cannabis a Schedule 3 drug?

Recommendations are a great first step but a far cry from actually rescheduling Cannabis. In order to do that, we have to understand the steps involved and who ultimately makes those decisions. The process of rescheduling a controlled substance like cannabis is a multi-step, thorough, and often lengthy process, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) holding the ultimate authority for making this decision.

  1. HHS Recommendation: The initial step in the rescheduling process begins with the recommendation from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This recommendation is pivotal, as it is based on comprehensive evaluations of scientific, medical, and public health data. The HHS analyzes research findings, reviews existing literature, and consults with experts to determine whether the current scheduling of a substance aligns with its potential for abuse, medical utility, and safety.
  2. DEA Evaluation: Once the HHS makes its recommendation, it is then forwarded to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA is responsible for enforcing the Controlled Substances Act and has the authority to reschedule or reschedule controlled substances. Upon receiving the recommendation, the DEA conducts its own exhaustive review.
  3. Rigorous Assessment: The DEA’s review process involves a rigorous examination of the scientific and medical evidence surrounding the substance in question. This includes scrutinizing studies, clinical trials, anecdotal evidence, and any potential risks associated with the substance’s use. The agency also takes into account public comments and feedback during this process, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation from various stakeholders.
  4. Final Determination: After the DEA has completed its review, it makes the final determination regarding the scheduling of the substance. This decision can involve maintaining the current schedule, rescheduling to a different schedule, or de-scheduling the substance entirely. The DEA’s decision is based on its assessment of the evidence and whether the substance’s current classification aligns with scientific understanding and public health considerations.

How the decision is made

It’s important to note that the DEA’s decision-making process is intended to be impartial and based on scientific evidence rather than political or ideological factors. However, the process can be influenced by changing attitudes, new research findings, and evolving public perceptions.

In the case of cannabis, the HHS’s recommendation to move it from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 reflects a significant shift in how the federal government views the plant. If the DEA were to concur with this recommendation, it would signal a change in federal policy that could have far-reaching implications for medical research, patient access, and the legal status of cannabis in the United States. As the evaluation process unfolds, it will be closely watched by individuals, researchers, and stakeholders who have a vested interest in the future of cannabis regulation. The fact is, we are only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the actual rescheduling of Cannabis.

Why does this change matter, what does it represent?

There are many ways rescheduling or completely de-scheduling Cannabis could change the lives of the American people. Here are just a few options to expand on when considering how opening up Cannabis and making it available to all, might be helpful.

Access to Medical Marijuana:

The reclassification of cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 holds the promise of transforming the landscape of medical marijuana in the United States. Currently, the Schedule 1 classification severely limits scientific research into the potential medical benefits of cannabis. Researchers face numerous hurdles in obtaining research permits, funding, and access to a consistent supply of cannabis for studies. This hinders our understanding of the plant’s therapeutic potential and limits the development of new treatments.

By moving cannabis to a lower schedule, the federal government could signal its commitment to advancing medical research. This could lead to more comprehensive studies on cannabis and its various compounds, such as CBD and THC, potentially unlocking new treatments for a wide range of medical conditions. Patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments could see improved access to evidence-based treatments that incorporate cannabis derivatives.

Reduced Criminal Penalties:

The criminalization of cannabis has led to countless arrests and convictions, disproportionately affecting communities of color. De-scheduling cannabis could result in a significant reduction in criminal penalties for possession and use. Individuals with non-violent cannabis-related offenses may no longer face the severe legal consequences that often result in lifelong barriers to employment, housing, and education.

Furthermore, the burden on the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, courts, and prisons, would be alleviated. This could free up resources to focus on more pressing matters and contribute to a more equitable and efficient justice system.

Economic Impact:

The cannabis industry has experienced remarkable growth in states where it has been legalized for either medical or recreational use. A shift from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 would likely lead to reduced regulatory restrictions, potentially fueling further economic growth and job creation.

Legalizing and regulating the cannabis industry at the federal level could open up opportunities for legitimate businesses to thrive, resulting in increased tax revenue for local and state governments. It could also create a broader range of job opportunities, from cultivation and distribution to retail and research roles, benefiting local economies.

The proposed rescheduling of cannabis carries significant ramifications for multiple stakeholders. From patients seeking effective medical treatments to researchers aiming to uncover the full therapeutic potential of cannabis compounds, the potential for change is substantial. Simultaneously, a shift in scheduling could lead to reduced criminal penalties and offer economic benefits, particularly for the burgeoning cannabis industry. As the debate over cannabis policy continues to evolve, it remains a critical topic that will shape the future of healthcare, justice, and the economy in the United States.

What are the pros and cons of de-scheduling cannabis?


  • Research Advancements: Rescheduling could facilitate further research into the potential medical benefits of cannabis, potentially leading to new treatments and therapies.
  • Criminal Justice Reform: De-scheduling could lead to a reduction in arrests and convictions related to cannabis possession, reducing the strain on the criminal justice system.
  • Economic Benefits: A less restrictive schedule could stimulate economic growth by allowing for expanded cultivation, distribution, and sales of cannabis products.


  • Safety Concerns: Critics argue that de-scheduling may lead to increased access to cannabis, potentially raising concerns about misuse, impaired driving, and public health risks. Education will be key in both gaining the public’s trust over a plant that has long since been associated with other Schedule 1 drugs as well as ensuring safe usage and proper dosing in what is certainly an ever evolving landscape of modern cannabis consumption.
  • Federal vs. State Conflicts: Cannabis is legal for medical or recreational use in many states, but federal prohibition persists. Rescheduling may not fully resolve the conflict between state and federal laws. Beyond that, What does taxation for the states look like after a rescheduling and potentially legalization of cannabis?
  • Regulatory Challenges: The transition from Schedule 1 to a lower schedule could pose regulatory challenges, including product quality control, taxation, and marketing restrictions. Right now, we handle this well on a state-to-state level, but if the government federally legalizes cannabis after rescheduling, all the growing pains we went through to get seed-to-sale tracking systems in place might have to happen all over again.

To be clear, the HHS recommendation to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 3 drug really does mark a significant development in the ongoing debate over cannabis policy in the United States. And while it could offer numerous benefits such as expanded research opportunities and criminal justice reform, it also raises concerns about public safety and regulatory complexities. The final decision by the DEA will shape the future of cannabis in the United States, affecting the lives of millions of Americans and the trajectory of the cannabis industry. Stay tuned for updates as this important issue unfolds.

Here are a few sources about rescheduling Cannabis that you might find interesting:

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Marijuana as Medicine: This government resource provides information on the current state of research and policies regarding the medical use of cannabis. It offers insights into the scientific aspects of cannabis and its potential therapeutic benefits.
  2. The Brookings Institution – “The medical marijuana mess: A prescription for fixing a broken policy”: This report delves into the complex issues surrounding the scheduling of cannabis and offers policy recommendations for a more rational approach to cannabis in the United States.
  3. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Controlled Substances Act: The DEA’s website provides information on the Controlled Substances Act, which governs the scheduling of drugs in the United States. It offers details on the legal framework and criteria used for drug scheduling decisions.
  4. NORML – National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws: NORML is an advocacy group focused on cannabis policy reform. Their website offers a wealth of information on cannabis-related issues, including updates on legislative changes and advocacy efforts.
  5. PubMed – Cannabis Research: For those interested in scientific studies and research articles on cannabis, PubMed is a valuable resource. It provides access to a vast collection of peer-reviewed research papers related to the medical and therapeutic aspects of cannabis.

Substance Market is Here For You!

Stop into any of our stores to check our some of our products. You can also check any of our menus here.

Additionally, you can find more information on the vendors we work with here.

Substance offers online ordering and curbside pickup for dabs and other fine products at all dispensary locations throughout Bend, OR, off I-5 in Cottage Grove, OR, and now at our newest location in Springfield, OR.

full spectrum cannabis

Full Spectrum Cannabis

What is full spectrum cannabis?

Full spectrum products come from the whole cannabis plant, including all naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds. This means that they contain a wide range of different chemical compounds, each with their own unique properties and potential health benefits.

In contrast to isolated cannabinoids or refined cannabis extracts, full spectrum products aim to preserve the natural complexity and synergy of the cannabis plant. This is because research suggests that these compounds work together in the “entourage effect,” which means that they can enhance each other’s effects and provide a more complete and well-rounded therapeutic experience.

Full spectrum cannabis products often contain a significant amount of THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, as well as other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, and CBN. They also contain a variety of terpenes, which are aromatic compounds that give cannabis its distinctive smell and taste, and may also have their own unique health benefits.

Overall, full spectrum cannabis products has shown to be one of the most natural and effective form of cannabis medicine. This may be because they offer a broad range of therapeutic effects. Full spectrum may be more effective than isolated compounds or synthetic alternatives.

full spectrum cannabis
Photo Credit Flikr

What are some examples of full spectrum cannabis products?

Full spectrum CBD oil

For CBD oil to be considered full spectrum, it must contain all naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds found in the hemp plant, including a significant amount of CBD.

Full spectrum THC oil

This product contains all naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds found in the marijuana plant, including a significant amount of THC.

Live resin

Live resin is a type of cannabis extract made from freshly harvested, flash-frozen cannabis flowers. This preserves the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a highly aromatic and flavorful product.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

This is a type of cannabis oil created by using a full spectrum extraction process. This involves soaking the cannabis plant in a solvent such as ethanol or butane to extract all the plant compounds. The resulting oil contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, including THC and CBD.

Whole-plant cannabis

This is the most basic form of full spectrum cannabis, which involves using the entire plant, including the flowers, leaves, and stalks. This is often used for making cannabis-infused edibles or as a raw material for other types of cannabis extracts.

What is not considered full spectrum cannabis?

Full spectrum cannabis products contain a range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds, whereas other cannabis products may be more refined and contain only specific cannabinoids or other components. Here are some examples of cannabis products that are not considered full spectrum:

Cannabis isolate

As mentioned earlier, cannabis isolate is a pure form of cannabis extract that contains only one cannabinoid compound, usually either THC or CBD.

Broad-spectrum cannabis products 

Broad-spectrum cannabis products contain multiple cannabinoids and terpenes, but with the THC component removed. This is often done to produce a product with the benefits of multiple cannabinoids, but without the psychoactive effects of THC.

THC distillate

THC distillate is a highly concentrated form of THC with an absence of all other compounds. This results in a pure, potent form of THC that with endless applications.

CBD isolate

Similar to cannabis isolate, CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD extract that contains only the CBD cannabinoid, with all other components removed.

Hemp Seed oil

Pressing the seeds of the hemp plant creates hemp seed oil, and contains no cannabinoids. It is often used as a carrier oil for other cannabis extracts, but is not considered a full spectrum product.

What is cannabis distillate?

A cannabis distillate is a highly concentrated form of cannabis extract produced using a distillation process. This process removes all impurities and unwanted compounds from the cannabis plant, leaving behind a pure, potent product with a high level of THC or CBD.

During the distillation process, the cannabis extract undergoes heating, then cooling, causing the different compounds to separate based on their boiling points. The resulting distillate is then further processed to remove any remaining impurities, resulting in a clear, colorless liquid with a very high potency.

Cannabis distillates are often used in the production of cannabis-infused products such as edibles, tinctures, and vape cartridges, as they can provide a consistent and precise dose of THC or CBD. They are also sometimes used for dabbing, a method of vaporizing and inhaling cannabis concentrates.

Read our article on distillate here.

cannabis isolate
Photo Credit WikiLeaf

What is cannabis isolate?

Cannabis isolate is a pure form of cannabis extract that contains only one cannabinoid compound, usually either THC or CBD. Creating an isolate involves isolating and refining a specific cannabinoid from a full-spectrum cannabis extract, which contains a range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds.

Isolating a cannabinoid involves further refining the full-spectrum extract to remove all other compounds except for the desired cannabinoid. This results in a highly concentrated form of the cannabinoid, often in the form of a white crystalline powder or a clear liquid.

Cannabis isolate is commonly used in the production of cannabis-infused products such as tinctures, edibles, and vape cartridges, as it allows for precise dosing and consistent effects. Cannabis isolate is often used in the production of cannabis-infused products such as tinctures, edibles, and vape cartridges, as it allows for precise dosing and consistent effects. Isolate is also used to create custom cannabis blends. 

Check out this documentary from PBS for more information.

What are the benefits of full spectrum cannabis versus not?

Full spectrum cannabis products contain a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds. Non-full spectrum products are typically more refined and may contain only specific cannabinoids or other components. Here are some potential benefits of full spectrum cannabis products compared to non-full spectrum products:

Entourage effect

Cannabis products contain different cannabinoids and terpenes that work together to produce the entourage effect. This means that these compounds can enhance each other’s effects and provide a more complete and well-rounded therapeutic experience.

More complete therapeutic experience

Due to the range of different compounds, full spectrum products may provide a more complete therapeutic experience. This may be especially true for conditions that require a range of different cannabinoids and terpenes to be effective.

Potentially more effective

Some research suggests that full spectrum products may be more effective than isolated compounds or synthetic alternatives. This may be due to the entourage effect and other factors.

Less processed

Full spectrum products are typically less processed than non-full spectrum products. This is because they contain the whole cannabis plant. This may be beneficial for people who prefer a more natural and holistic approach to cannabis medicine.

More natural flavor and aroma

Full spectrum products often have a more natural flavor and aroma than non-full spectrum products. This is because of their high content of different terpenes and other plant compounds. This contributes to the overall taste and smell of the product.

What are the benefits of non-full spectrum products?

Non-full spectrum products do not contain the full range of compounds found in the whole cannabis plant. Here are some potential benefits of non-full spectrum cannabis products compared to full spectrum products:

Precise dosing

These types of products can allow for more precise dosing of specific cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC. This can be especially useful for people who require a specific dose of a particular cannabinoid for their condition.

Reduced psychoactive effects

Isolated cannabinoid products may be beneficial for people who are sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC. Many of these products can contain higher levels of other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, or CBN.


Broad spectrum cannabis products can be more consistent in terms of cannabinoid content and quality. They are often produced under more controlled conditions.


Oftentimes, products without a broad spectrum of cannabinoids can be more convenient to use than full spectrum products. This is because they may be available in more standardized forms such as capsules, tinctures, or topical creams.

No risk of contamination

Isolated products may be less likely to contain contaminants such as pesticides or heavy metals. This is because they are often produced under more controlled conditions and with higher standards of quality control.

Note that non-full spectrum products may not provide the same range of therapeutic benefits as full spectrum products. This is due to the lack of the entourage effect and other factors. As with any cannabis product, the right product depends on individual needs and preferences. As always consult with a healthcare professional.

How to make full spectrum products at home


Before making any cannabis product, you need to decarboxylate your cannabis, which is the process of heating it to activate the cannabinoids. To do this, preheat your oven to 220-240°F (105-115°C). Grind your cannabis and spread it evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned and fragrant.


The simplest method for making full spectrum cannabis products at home without the use of solvents involves infusing a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or MCT oil with decarboxylated cannabis. Start by placing the cannabis and oil in a mason jar and heating it in a water bath or slow cooker for several hours, then straining out the plant material. This will produce a full spectrum cannabis oil. Uses for this are endless.


Once you have your full spectrum cannabis oil, you can use it to make a variety of different products, such as edibles, tinctures, or topicals. For edibles, you can simply mix the oil with a fat such as butter or oil and use it in your favorite recipe. For tinctures, you can mix the oil with a high-proof alcohol such as Everclear and let it steep for several weeks, then strain out the plant material. For topicals, you can mix the oil with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil and use it as a massage oil or skin balm.

What are some products designed to help make cannabis oil?

There are several products on the market that are specifically designed to help make cannabis oil. Here are a few examples:

MagicalButter Machine

This countertop appliance infuse herbs into butter, oil, and tinctures. It has a built-in heating unit and a blender that agitates the mixture to help extract the active ingredients from the cannabis plant.

Source Turbo

Source Turbo is a compact vacuum distillation unit that quickly and efficiently extract essentials oils from herbs, including cannabis. It uses a low-heat distillation process to preserve the integrity of the plant compounds.

Ardent Nova

The Ardent Nova is a decarboxylator that activates the cannabinoids in cannabis without burning the plant material. The Ardent Nova can decarboxylate and infuse cannabis into oil or butter for edibles and topicals.

Rosin Press

A rosin press uses heat and pressure to extract cannabis oil from the plant material. It is a popular option for those who prefer solventless extraction methods.

Infusion Kits

Many companies sell infusion kits that include all the necessary tools and instructions for making cannabis oil at home. These kits typically include items such as a decarboxylator, infusion bags, and a cooking vessel.

Here are a few books about full spectrum cannabis that you might find interesting:

“The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness” by Steve DeAngelo

DeAngelo explores the medicinal and therapeutic properties of cannabis and makes the case for full spectrum cannabis as the most effective form of treatment.

“Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana” by Michael Backes

Backes provides an in-depth look at the different strains of cannabis and their medicinal properties. It also includes a section on full spectrum cannabis and its benefits for treating specific conditions.

“The Medical Cannabis Guidebook: The Definitive Guide to Using and Growing Medicinal Marijuana” by Jeff Ditchfield 

Ditchfield’s comprehensive guide to using and growing cannabis for medicinal purposes. It includes a section on full spectrum cannabis and its potential as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions.

Substance Market is Here For You!

Stop into any of our stores to check our some of our products. You can also check any of our menus here.

Additionally, you can find more information on the vendors we work with here.

Substance offers online ordering and curbside pickup for dabs and other fine products at all dispensary locations throughout Bend, OR and now at our newest location in Cottage Grove, OR.

Oregon Cannabis Taxes

How Cannabis Taxes Work in Oregon

In Oregon, both the retail and wholesale sale of cannabis products are subject to taxes. Here’s how the tax system works:

State tax on retail sales

There is a 17% state tax on the retail sale of cannabis products. Oregon state cannabis taxes apply to the final sale price paid by the consumer, including any local taxes.

Local tax on retail sales

Some cities and counties in Oregon may also levy a local tax on the retail sale of cannabis products. This tax is usually 3% or less.

Tax on wholesale transactions

There is also a tax on wholesale transactions between cannabis businesses. Wholesale transactions are subject to taxation of $1.26 per gram of flower, $0.50 per gram of leaves, and $0.70 per gram of immature plants.

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis patients in Oregon are exempt from the state’s retail sales tax. They are still subject to the wholesale tax. Medical dispensaries also have different tax rates than retail dispensaries.

Tax collection

All cannabis businesses in Oregon must register with the Oregon Department of Revenue. Cannabis businesses collect and remit the appropriate taxes on a monthly basis.
The revenue generated from cannabis taxes in Oregon goes to fund a variety of programs and services. This includes education, drug treatment and prevention, law enforcement, and public health.

How is the tax rate on cannabis determined in Oregon?

In Oregon, taxes depend on the type of product and whether it’s sold at the retail or wholesale level.
Cannabis is subject to a 17% state sales tax. Additionally there may be a local tax of up to 3%.
At the wholesale level, cannabis is subject to a 17% state tax. which is based on the average market price of the product. This tax is paid by the producer or distributor, who may pass some or all the cost on to the retailer.
These tax rates are determined by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the state’s cannabis industry. The Commission may adjust tax rates periodically based on market conditions and other factors.

Can the tax rate change?

Yes, the tax rates on cannabis in Oregon can change. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has the authority to adjust the tax rates based on market conditions, changes in the cost of production, or other factors that may affect the industry.
In 2020 the Commission reduced the wholesale tax rate from 17% to 17 cents per gram for cannabis flower. Additionally they lowered cannabis extracts from 10% to 1 cent per milligram. This temporary reduction provided some relief to cannabis businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, local governments in Oregon have the option to levy an extra tax of up to 3% on cannabis sales. If a local government chooses to impose a tax, they may adjust the rate as needed.
The tax rates on cannabis in Oregon may be subject to change over time, depending on various factors that impact the industry.

Impacts of Cannabis Taxes in Oregon

In Oregon, the taxation of cannabis has a significant impact on the state’s economy and the cannabis industry. Here are a few ways that cannabis taxes are affecting Oregon:

Revenue Generation

Cannabis taxes are a significant source of revenue for the state of Oregon. The taxes collected from the sale of cannabis products fund various state programs and initiatives, including education, health care, and public safety. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the amount of tax revenue generated.

Price Stability

Cannabis taxes are also having an impact on the price of cannabis products in Oregon. Higher taxes can result in higher prices for consumers, which can make it more difficult for some people to access the products they need. At the same time, the taxes help to regulate the market and prevent price instability, which can be beneficial for both consumers and businesses.


The taxation of cannabis in Oregon is also affecting competition within the industry. Higher taxes can make it more difficult for smaller, independent businesses to compete with larger, established companies. This can lead to a consolidation of the industry, which can have negative consequences for consumers and small businesses.

Black Market

Finally, cannabis taxes can also have an impact on the black market for cannabis in Oregon. High taxes can make it more difficult for consumers to access legal cannabis products, which can drive them to seek out products from the black market. This can be detrimental to the state’s economy and public health, as black market products are not regulated or tested for safety.
public service
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

How are these taxes used?

In Oregon, revenue from cannabis taxes go to several different funds and programs, including the following:

The Common School Fund

40% of cannabis tax revenue goes to the Common School Fund, which supports K-12 public schools in the state. The money goes to to school districts based on enrollment.

Mental Health, Alcoholism, and Drug Services Account

20% of cannabis tax revenue goes to this account. This supports mental health, alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment, and related services.

State Police Account

15% of cannabis tax revenue goes to the State Police Account. This funds the state police’s efforts to regulate and enforce the cannabis industry.

Local Government Distributions

10% of cannabis tax revenue goes to cities and counties based on their percentage of licensed cannabis businesses.

Oregon Health Authority Account

5% of cannabis tax revenue goes to the Oregon Health Authority Account. This funds research, education, and other programs related to public health and cannabis.

Statewide Behavioral Health Services

5% of cannabis tax revenue goes to the Statewide Behavioral Health Services account. This provides support for community mental health programs and crisis intervention services.
Oregon Liquor Control Commission
5% of cannabis tax revenue goes to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. This regulates and enforces the state’s cannabis laws and oversees the licensing of cannabis businesses.
It’s worth noting that these percentages may change the over time. Specific allocation of cannabis tax revenue may vary based on the state’s changing needs and priorities.


Since the legalization of cannabis in Oregon in 2015, the state has collected a significant amount of revenue from cannabis taxes. According to the Oregon Department of Revenue, the total amounts of cannabis tax revenue collected by the state in recent years are:
  • In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the state collected $60.2 million in cannabis tax revenue.
  • In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the state collected $82 million in cannabis tax revenue.
  • In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the state collected $102.4 million in cannabis tax revenue.
  • In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the state collected $133.8 million in cannabis tax revenue.
It’s worth noting that the amount of revenue collected from cannabis taxes in Oregon has increased since legalization.
In conclusion, the taxation of cannabis in Oregon is having a significant impact on the state’s economy and the cannabis industry. While higher taxes can generate revenue and regulate the market, they can also create challenges for consumers, businesses, and the state’s efforts to end the black market. The state will need to consider the trade-offs involved in taxing cannabis and find a balance that benefits everyone.

What has cannabis tax revenue funded?

Here are some specific examples of projects and initiatives funded by cannabis tax revenue in Oregon:


  • The Oregon Health Authority has funded a campaign to educate youth and adults about the risks of cannabis use. This includes the effects on the developing brain and the dangers of driving while under the influence of cannabis.
  • The OLCC has partnered with the Oregon Department of Education to provide training and resources to teachers and school administrators on cannabis and its effects.

Law enforcement:

  • The OLCC uses cannabis tax revenue to fund investigations and enforcement actions against illicit cannabis operations in the state.
  • The Oregon State Police have received funding to buy equipment and technology to detect impaired driving, including drug recognition experts and breath testing devices.

Mental health and addiction services:

  • The Oregon Health Authority has used cannabis tax revenue to support community-based mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
  • The OLCC has partnered with the Oregon Health Authority to provide grants to local health departments and community organizations to support substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Economic development:

  • The City of Portland has used cannabis tax revenue to create a grant program to support small businesses in the cannabis industry, including dispensaries, processors, and cultivators.
  • The Oregon Department of Agriculture has received funding to support research on hemp and the development of new hemp-based products.

Health care:

  • The Oregon Health Authority has used cannabis tax revenue to fund the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, which provides access to medical cannabis for qualifying patients.
  • The OLCC has partnered with the Oregon Health Authority to provide funding for research on the effects of cannabis on health and wellness.

Negative effects of tax rates

Higher prices

The taxes on cannabis have contributed to higher prices for consumers. This can make legal cannabis less affordable than black market cannabis. This may encourage some consumers to continue to buy cannabis through illegal channels.

Impact on small businesses

Higher taxes can affect smaller cannabis businesses. Small businesses may struggle to compete with larger, more established companies that can absorb the costs. This can create a barrier to entry for new businesses and limit competition within the industry.

Reduced revenue for the state

In some cases, high taxes on cannabis can actually result in reduced revenue for the state. If the taxes make legal cannabis too expensive, it can encourage consumers to turn to the black market instead, which means the state misses out on potential tax revenue.

Stigmatization of cannabis

High tax rates on cannabis can also contribute to the stigmatization of cannabis use. Some people may view the high taxes as a way of penalizing or punishing cannabis users, which can reinforce negative stereotypes about cannabis and its users.
While the taxes on cannabis have provided significant revenue for the state of Oregon, it is important to consider the potential negative effects. Minimizing negative effects is essential to create a sustainable and fair cannabis industry.

Oregon’s Tax Rates vs Other Legal States

The tax rates on cannabis vary widely among the states where it is legal. Here is an overview of the tax rates in some of the most populous legal states:


Cannabis is subject to a 15% excise tax at the retail level, as well as a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Some cities and counties in California also impose extra taxes on cannabis.


Cannabis is subject to a 15% tax at the wholesale level, and 15% sales tax at the retail level. Local governments in Colorado may also impose extra taxes on cannabis.


Cannabis is subject to a 7% gross receipts tax at the retail level, besides state and local sales taxes. The state also imposes a cultivation tax of $7 per ounce of flowers and $1 per ounce of leaves.


Cannabis is subject to a 10.75% excise tax at the retail level, as well as state and local sales taxes. Cities and towns in Massachusetts may also impose extra taxes on cannabis.


Cannabis is subject to a 10% excise tax at the retail level, besides state and local sales taxes. The state also imposes a 6% sales tax on cannabis.


Cannabis is subject to a 15% tax at the wholesale level, and 10% sales tax at the retail level. Local governments in Nevada may also impose extra taxes on cannabis.
It’s worth noting that the tax rates and structure can vary between states. These rates may change over time as the industry evolves and states adjust their policies.

How you can make a difference in Oregon

If someone wants to get involved with Oregon’s cannabis tax rate, there are several ways they can do so:

Contact your local legislators

The best way to make your voice heard is to contact your local legislators. You can find your state senator and representative on the Oregon State Legislature website. Send them an email or call their office to express your opinions on the cannabis tax rate.

Attend legislative hearings

You can attend legislative hearings on the cannabis tax rate to learn more about the issue and express your opinions. You can find information about upcoming hearings on the Oregon State Legislature website.

Join advocacy groups

There are several advocacy groups in Oregon that work on cannabis related issues. Joining these groups can provide opportunities to stay informed about legislative developments. Some examples of advocacy groups include Oregon NORML, the Oregon Cannabis Association, and the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association.
You can find more information about these groups on our blog about the pioneers of modern cannabis here.

Submit written testimony

You can submit written testimony to the Oregon State Legislature on the cannabis tax rate. The Oregon State Legislature website provides instructions on how to submit written testimony. This includes deadlines and guidelines for formatting and content.
By getting involved and making your voice heard, you can help shape Oregon’s cannabis tax rate. Together we can ensure that it reflects the needs and interests of the community.
If you’re interested in more information on how to make a difference, we strongly encourage you to read our blog about the Oregon cannabis equity act here.

Substance Market is Here For You!

Stop into any of our stores to check our some of our products. You can also check any of our menus here.

Additionally, you can find more information on the vendors we work with here.

Substance offers online ordering and curbside pickup for dabs and other fine products at all dispensary locations throughout Bend, OR and now at our newest location in Cottage Grove, OR.

Incarceration & Cannabis : A Closer Look

by Kit Ryn Foreman

The United States leads the world in cannabis-related incarceration, with an estimated 40,000 people behind bars. The federal government has stepped back and allowed states to legalize or decriminalize cannabis. Arrest numbers have fallen drastically in legalized states. Numbers have also fallen (if more modestly) in decriminalized states. However, arrests are still occurring in legalized and decriminalized states. These numbers continue to reveal a significant racial disparity, as the ACLU says in their research report:

“Marijuana legalization should be — and indeed is — a racial justice issue. But thus far, racial justice has largely been a peripheral or incidental goal of legalization, resulting in continued racist enforcement of marijuana laws, the exclusion of people of color from participating in, leading, and building wealth from the marijuana industry, and the failure to repair the harms done to communities of color by the drug war.”

In the nine years between 2001 and 2010, there were 8.2 million cannabis-related arrests in the United States; according to the ACLU, 88% of these arrests were for possession of cannabis. Black people were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white people.

Between 2010 and 2018, there were over six million cannabis-related arrests. These arrests were more likely to involve a Black person. The ACLU states in their research report, that “Black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana.” Nine out of every ten arrests, according to the report, were related to possession of cannabis.

The battle doesn’t end when someone’s sentence has been served to completion. According to Richard Bronson, founder of 70 Million Jobs (a staffing agency serving formerly incarcerated people): 70 million US residents have extreme difficulty finding employment due to previous incarceration and people of color bear the brunt.

Currently, eleven states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis. Fifteen states have reduced legal consequences for cannabis-related activity. The state-by-state solution becomes complicated when viewing cannabis through a medical lens. People who rely heavily on cannabis to treat a variety of symptoms (from PTSD to chronic pain) cannot bring their medicine with them when they fly because it remains federally illegal. They also cannot bring cannabis across state lines without breaking federal law. They must purchase new cannabis products when they arrive (if they travel to a legal state) or go without entirely.

Substance is proud to be a founding member of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA) — ORCA’s mission is to “represent and advocate for the unique needs of cannabis businesses and consumers in our region.” In 2020, Substance joined the ORCA Board of Directors in order to have a bigger hand in their strategic focus and legislative priorities and helped create ORCA’s Comittee for Social Equity & Racial Justice, to build political and economic power for communities of color.

Substance is also currently contributing to fundraising efforts to establish scholarships for BIPOC individuals working towards a career in cannabis. These scholarships cover the costs of cannabis worker permits and support ongoing professional development. Additionally, Substance has recently joined an advocacy group called the Cannabis Workers Coalition. The CWC is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that actively lobbies for policy change and is heavily focused on community, advocacy, and education.

Substance is dedicated to using our agency and power to represent under-served, criminalized, and stigmatized populations. We remain dedicated, as ever, to helping to establish cannabis policies that are, in the ACLU’s words, “equitable, smart, [and] reparative.”

Oregon Cannabis 101

Are you new to the state of Oregon? Maybe you’re just passing through or visiting family and you want to stop at a local dispensary. Whatever it is, you probably have some questions regarding recreational cannabis laws. Whatever the reason, you’re in the right place. Here is your 101 guide to recreational cannabis in Oregon.

Legal Age

If you are 21 years of age and older you can consume recreational marijuana in Oregon. The use or possession of marijuana by anyone under the age of 21 is illegal, including home consumption.

When & Where

Adults 21 and older can use recreational marijuana at home or on private property. You may not smoke or use recreational marijuana in a public place. A public space is “a place to which the general public has access and includes, but is not limited to, hallways, lobbies, and other parts of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence, and highways, streets, schools, places of amusement, parks, playgrounds and premises used in connection with public passenger transportation.” Also, remember it is at a landlord’s discretion to allow or deny the use of marijuana on their property so, be sure to ask before using it on their property.

Possession Limits

The PUBLIC possession limits for recreational users are:

  • 1 oz. usable marijuana (dried leaves & flower)
  • 1 oz. cannabinoid extracts or concentrates
  • 16 oz. cannabinoid product in solid form
  • 72 oz. cannabinoid product in liquid form
  • 4 immature marijuana plants
  • 10 marijuana seeds

Private possession limits are the same as public but, you can have up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana at a residence or on private property.

Oregonians can grow up to four plants per residence. No, that does not mean four adults can have 16 plants. Four plants per residence, regardless of how many people live there.

Where to Purchase Cannabis

You can purchase marijuana items at any OLCC licensed retail location, but we prefer you come visit us here at Substance Market or check out our Bend Oregon Dispensary Menu.

Driving & Travel

Current DUII laws have not changed. That means no driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), including impairment from the use of marijuana. You also cannot take marijuana across state lines even if it’s legal in the state you are traveling too. That means you cannot travel to Washington with marijuana even though it’s legal. It is a federal offense.

Gifting & Giveaways

Gifting & giveaways between individuals who are 21 years of age and older is allowed but may not have any financial consideration.

Financial consideration includes:

  • Cover charges
  • Admission
  • Donations
  • Tip jars
  • Raffles
  • Fundraiser events
  • purchase required
  • Barter
  • Sales

Well, enjoy, be safe, and remember to follow the Oregon Cannabis 101 guide and laws for use of cannabis in the state of Oregon.

Download the Oregon Cannabis 101 Guide Here or for more information please visit

Tom Marino

Tom Marino Back in Running to Be Trump’s ‘Drug Czar’

Federal Policy Update

Tom Marino: Our Best Hope?

Our friends over at Leafly have done a wonderful job explaining how Tom Marino’s expected appointment could shield the cannabis industry form federal meddling. Marino has a long history of focusing on the opioid epidemic while in Congress. Marino’s opioid focus will, hopefully, take some wind (smoke?) out of Attorney General Sessions’ sails when it comes to prosecuting the cannabis industry.

From Leafly

The White House has announced that President Donald Trump intends to nominate US Rep. Tom Marino to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Marino, an early supporter of then-candidate Trump, has been a candidate for the role—commonly known as White House “drug czar”—since at least April, when the president first said he intended to appoint the Pennsylvania Republican to the post. But Marino withdrew himself from consideration in May citing a critical illness in his family.

In the position, Marino would steer the administration’s policies on drug control. And as Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott reported in April, his record indicates he’s far more concerned with the country’s ongoing opioid epidemic than with regulated cannabis markets.

During his time in Congress, Marino has worked to expand access to treatment for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. He also led a successful legislative effort to address cross-border drug trafficking.  If those past examples are any indication, Marino would likely direct most of his attention as drug czar to America’s opioid crisis. A White House panel in July urged the president to declare a national emergency around opioid overdoses, which are estimated to have killed roughly 60,000 people in 2016.

Marino’s position on opioids, however, could raise concerns within the cannabis industry. He seems to favor tougher criminal enforcement on the ground and more leniency for drug manufacturers, an approach that echoes that of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In May 2016, for example, Marino suggested that authorities lock up nonviolent drug offenders in a “hospital-slash-prison,” with release dependent upon the treatment program’s approval. If, like Sessions, Marino sees cannabis as a contributor to America’s overdose epidemic—just last week, Sessions said the idea of legalizing cannabis “makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck”—he may be resistant to the growing body of evidence that medical cannabis can help combat the opioid crisis.

If confirmed by the Senate (which reconvened today), Marino would replace Richard Baum, the ONDCP’s acting head. His Congressional seat would need to be filled via a special election.

See more here.

Jess Sessions

Jeff Sessions and the CSA

In our last post, we discussed how Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reignited the war on drugs. On May 12, Attorney General Sessions directed his federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe penalties possible for drug-related offenders, including mandatory minimum sentences, a penalty largely seen as responsible for the disproportionately high incarceration rates for ethnic minorities in the United States. This came as a blow to recent bipartisan efforts to enact criminal sentencing reform legislation, and spread uncertainty as to the future of legalization.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970


At the center of this uncertainty is the status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are deemed by the federal government to have no current medical use and a high addictive potential. This classification came into use with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which consolidated all previously existing federal drug laws into a single statute. The Nixon administration saw the CSA as a way to defeat the antiwar left and dismantle black communities, according to Nixon’s secretly-recorded Oval Office tapes and statements made by former Nixon aides. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that cannabis has medical use and has lower addictive potential than alcohol, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, making it illegal on a federal level.

Sessions and the CSA

How cannabis’ Schedule I status lines up with efforts to legalize cannabis on a state level has long been in question, and Sessions’ appointment as the US Attorney General brought this to the fore. In late May, Sessions authored a letter asking Congress not to renew federal protections in place for medical marijuana since 2014, arguing that they inhibited his ability to enforce the CSA. These protections prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to restrict individual states from implementing their own laws concerning medical marijuana. They have been included as an amendment to federal budgets for the previous three years. In a victory for legalization proponents, however, the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the amendment once again, ignoring Sessions’ request.


Meanwhile, the CSA’s constitutionality has come under attack. Pro-cannabis advocates filed a federal lawsuit on July 24 arguing that the CSA’s classification of cannabis as Schedule I is so irrational that it violates the constitution. The lawsuit also attacks the roots of the CSA, stating that the Nixon administration rushed the bill through Congress and insisted that cannabis be included “so that African Americans and war protesters could be raided, prosecuted and incarcerated without identifying the actual and unconstitutional basis for the government’s actions”. While Sessions’ efforts to roll back the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis continue, it is clear that lawmakers and civil society are actively resisting.

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Jeff Sessions and the War on Drugs

On May 12, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a sweeping new criminal charging policy. Attorney General Sessions directed his federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe penalties possible, including mandatory minimum sentences. Many credit these and similarly harsh policies of the “War on Drugs” in the 1980s and 1990s for the United States’ role as the world’s leading jailer and the disproportionately high incarceration rates for ethnic minorities.

Sessions and Drug-Related Policing

Towards the end of the Obama administration, a bipartisan consensus had emerged around criminal justice reform. A wide range of political voices, including civil rights groups, Democrat and Republican lawmakers, and even the ultra conservative Koch brothers coalesced around sentencing reform legislation. In the executive branch, former attorney general Eric Holder had instructed prosecutors to avoid charging nonviolent defendants with offenses that would result in long mandatory minimum sentences. Attorney General Sessions’ May 12 announcement decisively reversed these policies.

Jess Sessions

Sessions’ severe record on drug-related policing goes back much further, however. In 2016, while serving as a Republican senator for the state of Alabama, Sessions personally blocked national criminal sentencing reform legislation, despite substantial opposition from within his own party. As the U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of Alabama, drug convictions made up 40 percent of Sessions’ total convictions, double the rate of other Alabama prosecutors. He has also voiced opposition to federal oversight of non-federal police departments, dismissing previous Justice Department findings on state and local police forces’ systemic targeting of ethnic minorities as “anecdotal”.

Sessions and Cannabis

In addition to his affinity for punitive justice and harsh policing for drug-related charges, Attorney General Sessions has long espoused a virulent hatred for cannabis in particular. He infamously claimed that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”, and has long made his opposition to legalization known.


It is unclear as of yet, however, what he may or may not do to roll back legalization on a state level. While 26 states now have laws legalizing the use of cannabis in some form, it remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level, putting it in the same category as heroin. This gives the attorney general broad authority to crack down on the rising tide of legalization if he so chooses, although he would likely face a significant popular backlash.

Map indicating states that have decriminalized or legalized some form of cannabis use and purchase.

As uncertainty looms, lawmakers have reacted quickly, moving either to strengthen or to abandon their efforts to decriminalize, legalize, and research cannabis. In non-legal states, many are bracing for a crackdown, particularly communities of color. For all those fighting to normalize cannabis and create a more equitable justice system, Attorney General Sessions’ words and actions have already had a deeply chilling effect.