Medical marijuana growers and medical marijuana dispensaries may be the cure for the sagging prospects of retail sales when cannabis becomes legal on July 1.
Licensed growers and retailers won’t be operating when recreational pot becomes legal July 1, so state Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, is working on legislation that would allow Oregon’s existing medical marijuana dispensaries to temporarily serve recreational customers and collect taxes on those sales as required by state law.
Ferrioli’s concept would also temporarily allow medical pot growers to obtain licenses to sell their excess weed to dispensaries for resale to recreational purchasers.
The ballot initiative voters passed last fall, Measure 91, legalizes personal possession of marijuana for people ages 21 and older starting in July and calls for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to begin accepting applications for retailers and other businesses by January 2016. Regulators and lawmakers anticipate that due to the workload involved in setting up the longterm rules for a new system to track, license and tax marijuana businesses, recreational pot retailers might not open until later that year.
“Oregonians are not expecting to have to wait until 2016 to be able to buy retail legal marijuana in Oregon,” Ferrioli said. “These growers are out there. They’ve got products.”