By the end of its first day of accepting applications, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program had received nearly 300 submissions for licenses to operate medical marijuana dispensaries.
According to the Albany Democrat-Herald, about 200 of the 289 Internet applications came within the first hour on Monday. Applicants staked their claims early to avoid being too close to a competing dispensary. Among the restrictions set forth by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) is that dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from one another and from schools. Registration fees are $4,000, and $3,500 is refundable if the application is rejected.
Tom Burns, director of pharmacy programs for the Oregon Health Authority, said the first approvals could begin trickling out the week of March 17.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program is a state registry program within the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority, tasked with administering the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, which was approved by voters in November 1998. House Bill 3460, passed in 2013, created a process for dispensaries to register with the state, and the health authority created 29 pages of rules for the new businesses to follow.
According to the OMMP, 60,516 Oregon patients were registered to receive medical marijuana as of Jan. 1, 2014.
The Oregonian reported that the U.S. Attorney in Oregon has been reviewing the regulations and is watching the process closely.
“Our goal is to see the state be successful,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “Our goal is not to stop the state from moving ahead with their policy decision.”
Marshall did say she was concerned about the lack of background checks of dispensary employees, who can only be disqualified for being convicted of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance.
In addition to following the rules on proximity to schools and other dispensaries, applicants must also submit a security plan and an inventory control system plan to be eligible for a license. Attorney Hilary Bricken of the Canna Law Group takes a closer look at Oregon’s revised marijuana laws in her blog.
“Having worked with hundreds of cannabis businesses in states outside of Oregon on such plans, we can tell you that they can be very complicated,” she wrote.
Oregon is still considering whether municipalities should have the right to outlaw dispensaries. Some Oregon communities, including Tualatin, Tigard, Sherwood and Hillsboro, have already temporarily banned marijuana dispensaries. The Oregon House voted 31-27 on Monday to delay a vote on whether to pass a bill allowing counties and cities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.