Oregon continues making big strides in marijuana programs


Last update: May 11,  2016


Oregon is one of four states that has legalized and regulated marijuana adult consumption and is one of 24 allowing medical marijuana. The programs are popular, successful, and this year lawmakers devoted significant time during a short, 35-day session to fine-tune both programs for the benefit of the state and the residents it serves.

The most significant legislation related to marijuana policy appeared in two sweeping “omnibus” bills, HB 4014 and SB 1511. Among other changes, HB 4014 allows out-of-state investors to help fund state businesses – which many support because banks are often hesitant to offer financial services. SB 1511 also makes several changes, including provisions that would allow businesses serving adult consumers to provide medical marijuana products.

Oregon has made particular efforts to create a smooth transition into the non-medical program after voters approved an initiative that legalized access to cannabis for adults 21 and over in 2014. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries were the first to serve non-medical consumers starting in 2015, and taxes began on those sales in early 2016. In just the first month, the state collected $3.48 million in new revenue, beating local economists’ projections by a wide margin. Later this year, licensed businesses catering to adult consumers will begin operations as the state continues to roll out its program. For a closer look at the law as it currently stands, see our summary here, and be sure to check out the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s detailed FAQ, available here.

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Pending Legislation