Beginning October 1, Oregon’s recreational marijuana users will be able to make their purchases at their local medical marijuana dispensary. The Oregon Health Authority has so far been notified of plans to sell recreational marijuana by more than 200 of the 345 marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.
Recreational marijuana became legal in the state after the passing of Measure 91 last November, allowing adults to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana for personal use, but the state hadn’t licensed any stores and won’t be ready to regulate sales until next year. Giving the dispensaries the green light for recreational sales is an attempt to prevent black market sales. Dispensaries will be able to sell marijuana tax-free until January 4, after which recreational retail sales will fall under the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s regulations, be sold at OLCC-licensed retail stores and feature a 25 percent tax.
The state projects an additional $10.7 million in revenue from recreational marijuana sales for the 2015-2017 biennium, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Forty percent of the tax revenue will go to Common School Fund.
Provided they present a valid, government-issued photo ID, adults over 21 will be allowed to purchase a quarter ounce of buds per day. Marijuana edibles will not be available for early recreational sales.
Not all of Oregon is allowing dispensaries to sell recreationally. Ten cities and two counties have prohibited early recreational marijuana retail sales.
Most of Oregon’s dispensaries, however, are excited for what they expect to be a large boost in sales. “It’s going to be a surprise for everybody, we’re hoping it’s really busy,” Lois Parisea of Portland dispensary Gras Cannabis told the Seattle Times.
“We are hoping a lot of our patients will bring in their friends and family,” Aligra Rainy, owner of dispensary Collective Awakenings, told Oregon Live. “We do expect to have a lot of people 21 and older coming over to check it out.”
One concern about the new, likely mighty, influx of marijuana sales is the potential lack of supply for medical patients.
“We’re really nervous. The dispensaries might sell all the marijuana to recreational people and the patients will be left without their medicine,” Anthony Taylor, president of the nonprofit group Compassionate Oregon, told the Seattle Times.
Taylor also expressed concern about the impact on price with the increase of demand. He has sent letters to dispensaries encouraging them to set aside enough supply to adequately provide the medical patients.
“We don’t expect them to turn away business [to recreational users],” Taylor added, “but we do hope… everybody understands that in medical marijuana dispensaries, the patients come first.”