Source: By Noelle Crombie | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Cannabis producers and out-of-state entrepreneurs are already looking well beyond Oregon’s robust medical marijuana market to the recreational one, where for the first time government regulators will scrutinize growers, their practices and their plants.

Nowhere is the trend more apparent than in the Portland area, where marijuana industry players are engaged in a modern-day land grab for warehouse and retail space.

Portland, home to more big medical marijuana growers than any other city or town in Oregon, is positioned to be a major producer of cannabis for the regulated recreational market.

(Oregon’s largest medical marijuana grow site serves only California patients)

The Oregonian’s analysis of 2014 state grow site data identified 64 large-scale medical marijuana grow sites in the Portland area – a whopping 178 percent increase since 2012. Data revealed 282 grow sites across Oregon serving 11 or more medical marijuana patients – a 129 percent increase since 2012.

Two factors have spurred the rapid expansion of marijuana growers: Oregon’s newly regulated medical marijuana dispensary industry, which includes nearly 213 retail outlets where cardholders can purchase medical cannabis, and anticipation of legalized marijuana, which Oregon voters approved last fall.

“The legal marketplace has been limited to 70,000 (medical marijuana) cardholders and now it’s about to be every adult and every 21-and-older tourist who passes through the state,” said Matt Walstatter, a medical cannabis grower and owner of Pure Green, a Northeast Portland medical marijuana dispensary. “It makes sense for production to ramp up.”

Marijuana, after all, is big business in Oregon.

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