Once a budding industry, marijuana shops struggle from over-saturation in Eugene

Once a budding industry, marijuana shops struggle from over-saturation in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- Emerald City Medicinal got into recreational sales early; it's proudly painted on the window.

"People who are just in love with the product," Yvonne Sibert recalls those who jumped into the market in the early days of legalization.

Fast forward to today, she strikes a different tone.

"It's truly sad for me," she said the industry isn't what it used to be. "It's about who all gets their hand in the cookie jar."

Overproduction and too many licensed sellers means plummeting prices.

She showed us strains that just a year ago went for $1,800 a pound, now closer to $400.

"We're selling right now for less than we grow it for just to stay in the business," she said.

It's really hard but they're hoping they can continue that way.

"A lot of people in this industry are going to go out of business," Founder and Executive Director of Craft Cannabis Alliance Adam Smith said.

He said small local shops can't compete, and soon marijuana in Oregon could be dominated by out of state corporations.

"We're seeing really good companies that have struggled to make it here who are being bought out for really pennies on the dollar because they just don't have a way forward," Smith said that is unless Oregon starts exporting marijuana to other legalized states. "Oregon is a natural exporter of cannabis -- we are where it grows."

But he admits that could take time, if it happens at all, and that's time owners like Sibert don't have.

"There's definitely some days where we wonder."

She said they have loyal customers and are implementing new ideas to stay afloat.

It's just a matter of how long they can hang on in such a crowded market.

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