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Portland Approves First-Of-Its-Kind Delivery-Only Cannabis License

Portland entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to apply for a delivery-only marijuana license.

The Portland City Council has unanimously approved the creation of a new “marijuana courier” business license, allowing cannabis businesses the option of functioning as a delivery-only operation.

Acknowledging that Oregon’s regulated marijuana industry is too expensive for most entrepreneurs to become licensed, rent or buy a storefront location, and purchase product, the council hopes that the ordinance will attract new “microbusiness entrepreneurs” to the city. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission already allows licensed marijuana retail dispensaries to deliver marijuana to homes, but this new license category will allow retailers to sell marijuana and cannabis products, including edibles, extracts and concentrates, solely through delivery.

“It’s great to see small businesses starting in the community, trying to do this the right way, and working with us trying to figure out the regulatory issues as we go along, said Mayor Charlie Hales.

The delivery-only marijuana business license is the first of its kind in the United States. Courier businesses, like dispensaries and retailers, must keep their headquarters at a minimum of 1,000 feet away from a school and must remain at least 1,000 feet apart from other marijuana businesses. Businesses will be allowed to receive orders daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with deliveries allowed up until 9 p.m.

“Since the state regulations keep changing and the industry keeps flourishing, we’ll be coming back with multiple changes I’m sure,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said of the 15-member committee. “I look forward to that time.”

U.S. Marijuana Laws

As of last week, Portland’s Marijuana Policy Program hadn’t yet received any retail courier applications. To get a courier license, business owners must fill out a personal history form and obtain an alarm permit from the Portland Police Bureau and an electrical permit from the Bureau of Development Services. Proof of an air filtration system is also required and a driver cannot carry more than $3,000 worth of cannabis in a vehicle at any one time.

“We’re seeing it with everything,” Casey Arbogast, owner-operator of Northwest ReLeaf, told KATU.com. “Pizza is not the only thing that’s delivered. You get Amazon Prime, drone deliveries are going to happen soon. I think that this online ordering process is going to start to take over a little bit.”

Included in the approval of the ordinance is the creation of new categories for licenses, including two separate “micro-producer” tiers for growers who cultivate no more than 625 square feet or 1,250 square feet of cannabis plants, and a “micro-wholesaler” category for businesses that buy seeds or immature plants from micro-producers.

Starting January 1, Oregon dispensaries will only be able to continue selling recreational marijuana if they’ve obtained a retail license. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement, which handles the application process, has been overwhelmed with license applications over the last few months.

To help in managing the current backlog, the council unanimously agreed to remove requirements for final inspections and an approved building permit for wholesalers, retailers, and dispensaries. The council also approved amendments to change the hours of operation for marijuana retail businesses to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and added a five-day grace period for medical dispensaries to transition to retailers once a state license is obtained.

Recreational marijuana sales in Oregon began in October 2015, and already the state’s legal marijuana market has so far generated more sales and tax revenue than initially projected. Keep up with the burgeoning U.S. cannabis market by regularly visiting our news feed.

Post by Eve Ripley

Eve is a writer specializing in cannabis education and editorials related to cannabis industry news.

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