Oregon Releases Draft Regulations for Early Marijuana Sales

Early Sales

On Aug. 19, 2015, the Oregon Health Authority issued draft regulations regarding the early sale of recreational marijuana. Although recreational dispensaries are not expected to open until 2016, the legislature passed Senate Bill 460 to temporarily allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to recreational users starting on October 1 of this year.

Kristen Grainger, spokeswoman for Gov. Kate Brown, told The Huffington Post that allowing early sales of recreational marijuana was a “smart solution” to a “logistical problem.

“Oregon’s new recreational marijuana law went into effect in July 2015, but Oregonians couldn’t lawfully buy it anywhere for another year or more,” Grainger said. “If marijuana is legal to use, it shouldn’t be illegal to buy.”

Under the proposed regulations, medical marijuana dispensaries will be required to post signs in a conspicuous place near the entrance of the dispensary informing customers that they either sell medical marijuana or both medical and recreational marijuana.

Only those 21 years or older with a federal or state issued ID will be allowed to enter the dispensaries.

Recreational users will only be allowed to purchase marijuana in the form of leaves, seeds, flowers or plants. Edible marijuana and marijuana oil will not be made available to recreational users until recreational dispensaries become operational next year.

In addition, recreational users will only be allowed to purchase up to a quarter ounce of marijuana at a time. However, there is no rule or system put in place preventing recreational users from going to different dispensaries to purchase more marijuana, mostly due to practical challenges of developing such a system under a tight deadline.

For every purchase of recreational marijuana, dispensaries will be required to distribute state-issued fact cards on marijuana. The state has yet to develop such cards but they are expected to be ready before recreational sales become active on October 1.

Dispensaries will still be required to track the name of medical marijuana patients for every purchase, but will not have the same requirements for recreational users; instead, dispensaries will be required to record and track the birthday of every recreational user.

Speaking with Oregon Live, dispensary owner Don Morse said that some of the news rules seemed like administrative overreach but that he was willing to work within the temporary rules.

“[F]or the time being, if this is what we need to do in order to have safe access, then the consumer will have to decide for themselves whether it’s worth the risk.”

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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