Oregon is one of the select few states across the country to have legalized recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21 but with that legalization came a daunting responsibility of regulation. While the introduction of an entirely new industry to the state will take some time to organize, the process has already begun with everything in order to see the cannabis industry up and running in Oregon for 2017. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued its first recreational marijuana licenses to 8 growers on Friday. The growers are located throughout Lane, Tillamook, Washington, Clackamas, Jackson, and Josephine counties with a mix of medium to large organizations with both indoor and outdoor plants. OLCC Chair Rob Patridge said “These licensees reflect the pioneering spirit Oregon is known for. They come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and possess the entrepreneurial spirit of this industry.”
Types of Recreational Marijuana Grow Licenses
Two types of production licenses were issued to this first group. The Tier One licenses, which allow for between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet of crops, and Tier Two, which allow between 20,000 and 40,000 square feet of space. A mix of indoor and outdoor space may be used as long as the combined space is still under the limit. Licenses become active once the annual license fee is paid. Tier One licenses are $3750 and Tier Two are $5750. All annual fees for wholesalers, retailers, processors, and labs are $4,750.
Future Growers Licenses
The OLCC is responsible for overseeing recreational marijuana in Oregon and the organization plans to convene every week until early June 2016 to approve more licenses. After that point, the OLCC Executive Director will be responsible for approving licenses. The commission have already received over 900 applications for licenses in the recreational cannabis industry so far. They intend on approving approximately 850 growers’ licenses by the end of the year. Their main objective for now is to get growers organizing themselves so there is a supply for dispensaries by January 2017.
Dispensary Licensing Schedule
The approval process for dispensary licenses will start in October 2016. Until then, dispensaries that currently sell medical marijuana will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana to people over 21 through the end of this year at which time a recreational license will be necessary. At that point in time, the growers, retailers, and processors should have all operations up and running.
The Inspection Process
Inspectors for the OLCC are checking property spaces before applications are approved. Field inspectors are ensuring that all businesses meet state laws and regulations before the commission issues their licenses. Patridge says, “All applicants go through rigorous scrutiny before they’re even considered for a license. They undergo criminal background checks, must receive land use approval from local governments, and be trained to use the Cannabis Tracking System which is the key public safety component for the regulated recreational marijuana system.”
Many other states are voting on whether to join Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado and D.C. in legalizing recreational adult use of marijuana this November. As Oregon leads the way in creating a healthy infrastructure for the industry, it may influence more states to follow.