Over the weekend, Oregon celebrated both the anniversary of the first legal sales of cannabis to adults 21 and over and they also saw the opening of the state’s first recreational marijuana dispensaries, exactly one year after those first sales – and right on schedule. The state has been working hard to license producers and processors, wholesalers, retailers and laboratories over the last year – all with a deadline of October 1st for having the first dispensaries ready to go – and a deadline of the end of the year before medical marijuana dispensaries will no longer be able to legally sell marijuana to both medicinal and recreational users.
There had been fear of hold ups in the state, especially considering shops were supposed to have all products complying with new testing, labeling and packaging standards by this very same deadline. Unfortunately, there were hold ups when it came to licensing accredited labs, which made it impossible for retailers to comply with these new standards by the deadline. So the two agencies currently overseeing the cannabis industry, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, agreed that they would allow shops to continue selling products they already have on the shelves – with new childproof packaging.
All new products coming into the shops will need to have the lab test results as a part of the packaging and labeling, but companies will have until March 2017 to sell the last of their back stock on products tested by non-accredited labs. New labs will be able to look for a variety of pesticides, as well as providing accurate information when it comes to the CBD and THC content of the cannabis products.
Currently, there are 26 dispensaries with recreational licenses in Oregon – all within the Portland and southern Oregon region at the moment. Only a handful of those dispensaries were actually ready to open up over the weekend – but in the coming months there will be more and more shops opening up. Some medical marijuana shops will be switching to a retail license before the December 31st cut off for the early-access program allowing them to sell to both types of consumers. Almost two years after the state voted in Measure 91 to legalize cannabis the state is finally preparing to turn over regulation of the new industry to the OLCC, meeting all their deadlines – if only by a hair.