At the close of 2016 some dispensaries found themselves in a bit of a pickle. Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) licenses were going to be required to sell recreational marijuana and any dispensary falling outside that scope holding only an OHA registration would only be allowed to sell medical marijuana. Mark Pettinger, who is in change of public relations at the OLCC, explained the particulars of cannabis licensing in Oregon.
“The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) regulates dispensaries, which are ‘registered’ not licensed,” he said. “Many OHA dispensaries have, and continue to apply for an OLCC license because that license allows them to sell recreational and medical marijuana.”
These dispensaries were allowed to sell recreational marijuana through December of 2016. Estimates indicate approximately 350 licensed retailers from 2015 though this year and approximately 550 licensed retailers from 2017 to 2019.
“Anecdotally we understand some retailers were affected by not being able to sell recreational, but they were allowed to sell medical up until they surrendered their OHA (Oregon Health Authority) registration and started using their OLCC license,” said Pettinger.
Dispensaries with their OLCC license can offer both medical and recreational flower, concentrate, edibles as well as other products ranging from salves to tinctures.
When purchasing these products as a recreational user you must be 21 years or older. Once a purchase is made customers are typically provided with a card from OHA stating that marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding can harm the baby. This card provides the poison center hotline in case a minor ingests or drinks a marijuana product and offers tips for safe cannabis storage in the home.
An exit bag was insisted upon by the OLCC and consists of a heavier plastic reusable bag that with a zipper or seal across the top locking the seal in place after it had been completely closed. These type of bags are supposed to allow for the safe transport of marijuana products so consumption doesn’t happen until the consumer is home.
In speaking with employees at Green Mart in Beaverton, Oregon, they said they are fuzzy on the use of exit bags and the Oregon Health Authority fact cards that were originally required to be present at the time of a purchase.
Employees at that location air on the side of caution and always present customers with the card and a brown paper bag. Purchasing flower from the establishment comes in a sealed bag that needs scissors to open, that’s also true for their concentrates. Their packaging meets the “childproof” requirements to render an actual exit bag unnecessary.
At Stone Age Farmacy, deeper in Beaverton, flower purchases come in a plastic container similar to an oversized film container, or pog holder – if you remember those from the ’90s. These containers are then placed in paper bags with sticker seals. OHA cards are given to each customer at the time of purchase unless a customer has a card and can present it.
In those two instances the establishments provide the card and a paper bag. A plastic sealable “exit bag” doesn’t have to be used if the product is contained in a sealed container.
TELL US, have you experienced the joy of buying legal cannabis in Oregon yet?