Medical marijuana retailers used to be able to sell recreational marijuana in Oregon; but as of January 1, 2017, they’re no longer able to.

Only days into 2017, hundreds of marijuana retailers and dispensaries across Oregon are waiting for the proper licensing to sell recreational marijuana. Patients and recreational users across Oregon are in limbo as they wonder where they can obtain their recreational and medical marijuana.


Recreational Sales Prior to 2017

In 2014, the state of Oregon legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana usage. Anyone aged 21 or older can buy recreational marijuana in Oregon. Patients registered under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) can obtain medical marijuana from medical marijuana retailers.

Non-cardholders in Oregon didn’t start seeing recreational shops open until late 2015. They were able to purchase recreational marijuana from medical dispensaries, however. Medical dispensaries were given the OK to temporarily sell recreational marijuana to curb street sales. This gave recreational marijuana retailers time to obtain the proper licensing for setting up shop.


Who Authorizes Medical & Recreational Marijuana in Oregon?

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) or the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) authorize marijuana dispensaries. The OHA authorizes medical dispensaries, while the OLCC authorizes recreational marijuana shops.

On January 1, 2017, medical and recreational marijuana can no longer be sold under the same roof. Without authorization from the OLCC, medical marijuana retailers can no longer sell to non-OMMP users. Dispensaries authorized by the OHA will only be allowed to sell to OMPP patients, while on-OMMP users will only be able to purchase from recreational marijuana retailers.

Dispensaries can still sell medicinal and recreational marijuana under the same roof if they obtain specific licensing from the OLCC. Non-licensed medical will face penalties of up to $500 if caught selling to non-OMMP users.


Outlook for Recreational & Medical Marijuana Retailers in Oregon

Because recreational marijuana usage fares better in popularity than medicinal usage, dispensaries are likely to opt for recreational licenses. If medical dispensaries make the switch to recreational, OMMP patients may have a harder time obtaining medical marijuana.

Since some communities across Oregon have outlawed recreational shops, medical marijuana retailers could dominate within these communities. However, if recreational marijuana shops surge within certain communities, medical dispensaries will be outnumbered. This will force OMPP patients to outsource their medical marijuana in other areas of Oregon.

Only days into the new year, hundreds of dispensaries across Oregon are scrambling for recreational sale licenses from the OLCC. The OLCC has received hundreds of applications. Many dispensaries still haven’t received their recreational licenses. While shops wait, non-OMPP users are having a hard time finding licensed shops.

It’s likely that marijuana retailers will opt to sell recreational marijuana because it’s more profitable. As a result, the medical marijuana industry in Oregon could take a financial hit. While medical marijuana retailers can still operate in Oregon, they will grow more limited. It will become more difficult for OMPP patients to obtain medical marijuana in certain parts of Oregon.


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