PORTLAND, Ore. — Loose regulations when it comes to out-of-state money investing in marijuana is primed to make Oregon the pot capital of the country.

“Oregon is going to lead the nation,” said cannabis grower William Simpson.

Oregon will be the third state to set up recreational marijuana shops. Colorado and Washington both have residency requirements, which keep out-of-state businesses from investing in the marijuana business. With so much cannabis being grown in Oregon, the businesses won’t be making money at the start.

“You’re collecting this top talent from all over the world to come in to one area, one market, and share all of that research and education because they can thrive in that industry and that market,” Simpson said.

Simpson owns Chalice Farms, his grow site is in a quiet part of West Linn. He also owns dispensaries in Southeast Portland and Dundee.

“Over the last four months, we’ve spent a million a month,” Simpson said. “After year-end taxes, we had to pay money to be in business.”

Simpson received a $10 million loan from a family friend.

Having bundles of cash is necessary in part because so few landlords will rent spaces to dispensaries, so they have to buy the stores in cash.

“I don’t see too many people on their own savings fund that spend the millions of dollars it takes,” Simpson said. “You’re going to have to plan to lose money for a few years.”

State economists say Portland can only support between 25 to 30 pot shops; yet, there are roughly 100 citywide.

“They’re losing money hand over fist,” Simpson said. “I see a lot of failure.

Pot is still illegal under federal law and until that changes, it remains a risky bet.

And it’s only for millionaires, but that’s about to change.

“This is quirky and it also is the kind of thing that would be fun to test,” said Amy Pearl with Hatch Oregon.

Hatch Oregon is in Northeast Portland. It helped put together a new state law that allows Oregonians to invest up to $2,500 in local businesses. It’s half Kickstarer, half Wall Street, and within the next month a marijuana grower is looking to raise around a quarter million dollars from people who will become local shareholders.

“It will be fun to watch ordinary Oregonians, non-wealthy folks actually make money off of that growth,” Pearl said.

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