Last year, Golden Leaf Holdings, a leading cannabis company, paid $3.3 million for almost 100 acres of land in Oregon to build a marijuana growing, processing and research site.
The future looked bright: Oregon voters had legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. But Measure 91 gave counties and towns the opportunity to opt out and ban pot businesses.
Days after Golden Leaf signed the papers on the property in Marion County near the town of Aurora, the county banned marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas. So did about 100 other towns and counties.
“That shut us out completely out of the recreational market, which was our original strategy,” said Beau Whitney, a Golden Leaf vice president.