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).

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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.

Clackamas County Commissioners Approve Draft Marijuana Ordinance

OREGON: Clackamas County commissioners approved a draft ordinance that would regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in a policy session Tuesday, March 10.

The ordinance calls for dispensaries to have minimum setbacks of 2,500 feet from neighboring dispensaries; 2,000 feet from schools; 1,500 feet from light rail transit stops, libraries, parks, treatment centers, adult foster care locations, public housing and state liquor stores; 500 feet from licensed childcare facilities; and 100 feet from residentially zoned property that does not front a state highway or major arterial road.

At the request of commissioner Paul Savas, commissioners approved a last-minute amendment extending the 2,500 feet dispensary setback to potential future recreational dispensaries, instead of just concerning medical dispensaries.

The regulations mostly allow dispensaries in small patches around Gladstone, Milwaukie and Clackamas Town Center, and would only allow for one more dispensary on McLoughlin Boulevard, where two currently operate and a third recently closed, according to the county.