Oregon Dispensaries Prepare for Oct. 1 Debut of Recreational Sales

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: A budtender pours marijuana from a jar at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries and to order them to close or face legal action. The council also voted to instruct staff to draw up a separate ordinance for consideration in about three months that might allow dispensaries that existed before a 2007 moratorium on new dispensaries to continue to operate. It is estimated that Los Angeles has about one thousand such facilities. The ban does not prevent patients or cooperatives of two or three people to grow their own in small amounts. Californians voted to legalize medical cannabis use in 1996, clashing with federal drug laws. The state Supreme Court is expected to consider ruling on whether cities can regulate and ban dispensaries. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The streets of Oregon will forever be changed beginning this Thursday, October 1st as it introduces recreational sales for cannabis into the state.

More than 200 of Oregon’s 345 medical marijuana dispensaries have notified the Oregon Health Authority of plans to sell recreational marijuana starting on Thursday.

Oregon passed Measure 91 in November. The law legalized possessing and growing limited amounts of cannabis for personal use starting July 1. But the state won’t be ready to begin regulated sales until next year. As a temporary stop-gap and to curb black market sales, medical dispensaries are allowed to conduct early sales of recreational marijuana tax-free.

Taxes on recreational sales won’t start until Jan. 4, when a 25 percent tax on retail sales will be added.

Adults over 21 can buy a quarter ounce of buds. Candy bars, brownies and other marijuana edibles, as well as extracts, concentrates and cannabis-infused products are not available in early sales. Customers must provide a valid, government-issued photo ID as proof of age.

Ten cities and two counties have prohibited early retail sales of marijuana, including Douglas and Harney counties, Gresham, Brownsville, John Day, Junction City, La Grande, Reedsport and Sherwood.

Most dispensaries in Oregon are thrilled to start offering recreational sales, hoping to boost their revenue in an already over-saturated industry. But, they say, it’s hard to know what impact adult recreational sales will have.

A huge concern for dispensaries is the ability to stock enough flowers to meet the growing demand. A shortage of cannabis is also the biggest worry for those in the medical marijuana community, who fear the start of recreational sales will negatively impact medical marijuana patients.

WHAT’S LEGAL?

Under Measure 91, starting July 1, anyone over 21 in Oregon can possess up to 8 ounces of usable cannabis, such as dried buds at home and up to one ounce outside the home. You can consume cannabis at home or on private property. You can grow up to four plants per residence at home out of public view. You can make brownies and other edible products at home and receive them as gifts. And you can give away marijuana and receive it as a gift.

WHAT’S NOT LEGAL?

It is illegal to buy or sell recreational marijuana and to transport it across state lines. That includes buying some from a legal retail outlet in Washington state and bringing it home to Oregon. It is illegal to smoke cannabis in public or to drive while medicated. Measure 91 will not protect you if your employer prohibits drug use, especially if there is a federal connection, because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And if your landlord prohibits smoking in your apartment, you can be evicted for smoking marijuana, but not for eating it.

Recreational pot has also been legalized in Washington, Colorado and Alaska, though Alaska is still figuring out how to regulate the industry.