Less than a week from today, on October 1, Oregon’s licensed medical marijuana dispensaries may begin selling certain types of marijuana to everyone 21 years or older (unless you have the bad fortune of being in an opt-out jurisdiction). It will be an exciting day in Oregon, both for dispensary owners and for everyone else. We wrote about the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) early sales program rules here and the OHA has since published its FAQs here.
Dispensaries must take certain steps (a bunch of them) to prepare for early sales to recreational customers. As you may note from the OHA FAQ page, the required forms and various other materials are are not yet available, which is a head scratcher given the fact that the rules require a dispensary to submit these forms by Saturday, September 26 to even begin the early sales on October 1.
Because of this late scramble, and because there are many new rules associated with the program, we have been busy working with clients on putting together checklists and also educating staff as to what is allowed, and what isn’t. Note that if a dispensary does not comply with OHA notification requirements as well as each and every rule related to early sales, it risks losing the ability to participate in the program further and even losing its license.
Generally speaking, the requirements to get up and running include submitting forms to OHA, printing certain signs for both outside and inside (and this applies even to dispensaries that are not going to participate in recreational sales), hanging posters and distributing state-required information to customers. At the request of several clients, we have also compiled a list of the new sales rules for dispensary staff, which we are happy to share.
Of course, before even beginning this process each dispensary should ensure that it is not located in a city or county that has opted out of early sales, and check its local jurisdiction to see what additional rules may apply (last week, we wrote about the Portland rules here). Also, in January, the early sales program requirements will expand to include Department of Revenue reporting for point-of-sale tax collection. At that point, a 25% sales tax will ensue that stays in place until the end of 2016, when the early sales program sunsets.
For dispensaries that follow the program rules and are prepared for the inevitable OHA inspections, things should go well. Dispensaries that want to keep selling to the recreational market in 2017, or apply for a license before then, will need an OLCC license. Check back for rules on that next month.