Exciting news for Oregon: the first marijuana licenses have officially been approved. There are now eight different companies approved to cultivate marijuana around the state. The Oregon Liquor and Control Commission will meet on a weekly basis through June in order to license the rest of the growers before they start working on licenses for retail dispensaries in order to ensure that the supplies are ready for shops to open; licensing for dispensaries should be underway by October of this year.
“We didn’t do anything to specially select these folks. It was the fact that they got the I’s dotted and T’s crossed on their applications,” Said Mark Pettinger, Spokesperson for the OLCC.
This first round of growers to be licensed include both large and moderate sized cultivation sites ranging from 5,000-10,000 square feet for Tier 1 and 20,000-40,000 square feet for Tier 2. The process to get licensed for either size required that the applicant be intensely screened, including a criminal background check, and also required getting approval from local governments for land use. The applicant also must be trained in how to use the seed-to-sale tracking system – all before they are even considered for a license.
Once the licenses are awarded, the businesses must pay an annual licensing fee, which starts at $3,750 for Tier 1 growers and goes up to $5,750 for Tier 2 Growers. (Other annual licenses for labs, processors, wholesalers, and retailers will cost $4,750.) Once they pay that licensing fee, they are able to set up shop and get started planting the first seeds. Chances are these cultivators will be getting started as quickly as possible so their products can hit shelves once dispensaries are licensed later this year.
“Today is just another step on the path to implementation,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “We’re going to continue to remain focused on creating a recreational marijuana system that ensures public safety, protects our children, and fosters a successful legal market for the recreational use of marijuana.”
Watching the way Oregon is unfolding their cannabis industry – everything from allowing early access through medical marijuana shops to processing the licenses in a specific order to ensure the most efficiency, it’s actually quite exciting (at least I think so). It will be interesting to see if other states follow a similar model to this – these states are all paving the way for the rest of the country to follow the same path with the least amount of issues possible.