Notes From Oregon’s First Day Of Legal Cannabis Sales

By Sue Vorenberg

OREGON:  There was a prevalent party vibe in Portland, Oregon on Oct. 1, 2015 – the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales in the state.

Having covered the launch and evolution of Washington’s recreational cannabis system over the past several years, I was extremely curious to see how Oregon’s first day of sales played out. (I’m in Vancouver, Washington and Portland is literally a 15 minute drive from my house – so I know the city reasonably well).

IMG_7361

First, some kudos – Instead of grudgingly accepting the market (as we’ve seen in some Washington cities and I’m sure in some of Oregon’s more rural towns as well), Portland and its residents seem to openly and lovingly welcome it.

I’m sure there are residents who strongly oppose rec sales – but biking through the city for the launch of the Portland Pot Pedal Bike Tour I found a lot of enthusiasm, curiosity and support from the people I met (we went to a few eateries along with the head shops and dispensaries where you’d expect that sort of response).

During our ride – and our guides were wearing shirts with pot leaves on them – people on the street waved, asked about the tour and cheered us on. And I think with that sort of public attitude Portland is well set to become one of the best marijuana tourism destinations.

The pot shops (which are medical dispensaries that are now allowed to sell up to a quarter ounce of flower as Oregonians wait for their full recreational system to be set up in 2016) don’t work quite the same in Oregon as they do in Washington.

Do Alaska Cannabis Regulations Allow For Chefs To Get In The Game?

ALASKA:  Shawn, a chef (and expert punster), wonders whether Alaska cannabis regulators have considered his industry as they’re setting the initial boundaries of the legal market.

“I would like to know how they plan to address edibles and establishments that sell them. Are they going to allow a restaurant or dinner club that is an adult atmosphere like a bar, 21 and over, to serve cannabis-infused foods? I’m a chef and I think that we should have opportunity to stake our claim in this ‘budding’ marijuana industry.”

The regulation process is ongoing and regulators are still seeking public input on the draft rules issued so far, so things are a bit fluid at the moment. But it appears that no, Alaska’s current draft regulations don’t take into account the range of likely scenarios involving chefs and the things they might use cannabis for. But that’s not unusual among legalized states. Restaurants haven’t yet been able to go for broke without risk or gray area anywhere in the US.