Recreational cannabis sales are currently underway in Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries, but rules have been drawn up that will govern a permanent recreational industry in the future.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission recently approved preliminary rules for the industry when it gets up and running next year to the tune of some 70+ pages worth.
One of the major rules would eliminate the current (temporary) system completely; retail sales would only be allowed in strictly recreational shops and there would be no mixing of medical and recreational sales.
The OLCC will oversee the industry and the enforcing of regulations. Growing operations will be limited to 10,000 square feet indoors and 40,000 outdoors in an attempt to limit supply. This will supposedly reduce the amount of cannabis available to be sold in the black market, when all it really does is keep the price of legal marijuana artificially high, which in turn helps the black market by lessening competition.
Other regulations include residency requirements for owners of marijuana businesses to make sure they have lived in Oregon for at least two years.
All in all, like most regulations, the rules from the OLCC will restrict economic development and seem rather excessive. It will be the job of activists in the state to get the regulations loosened so Oregon can feel the full economic effect of legalization.
Until then, it must be remembered that excessive regulations under legalization beat the no regulations of the black market — unless you’re a drug dealer, of course. Legalization is better than prohibition and retail sales are better than meeting a guy behind the 7-11 to get a baggie of who-the-hell-knows-what.
Oregon is on the road to full cannabis legalization, a road many other states will start on in the coming years. Hopefully they can help show the way to get it done right.