Marijuana Entrepreneurs in Oregon and Alaska Praise Legalization
Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to legalize recreational marijuana this past Tuesday, and entrepreneurs in both states couldn't be happier, or could they? "I'm very excited. I've been medicating with marijuana since I was 21 years old," said Mario Mamone to the Huffington Post. Mamone, who owns and operates a medical marijuana dispensary named the Maritime Cafe in Clackamus County, Oregon, has suffered from back spasms since serving the U.S. in Vietnam and first began using cannabis to treat his condition in the late 1960's. "I've always been afraid I'd be arrested and thrown in jail. But this lifts the stigma," said Mamone to the Huffington Post. Unfortunately for Mamone and other dispensaries in some parts of the Northwest, legalization may not go as smoothly as planned. Regulations and moratoriums like the one placed on his dispensary back in 2011 ensure that legalization throughout his state of Oregon, will be a slow and steady. Portland on the other hand, is already selling legalized pot in dozens of dispensaries, according to the passing of Measure 91. Green Goddess Remedies is holding off on their recreational ventures however, with fears that the quality of marijuana will be jeopardized under the commercialization and mass production of the plant. "Retail changes the vibe. It becomes mass consumption. It turns into, like, Budweiser beer," said Sarah Bishop, owner of the dispensary, to the Huffington Post. Because Oregon already had a medical marijuana program in place with regulations already established, marijuana is expected to be much cheaper than it's neighbor Washington. Marijuana is expected to be sold for about $145 per ounce in Oregon as opposed to $560 an ounce in Washington. Legalization may roll out even slower in Alaska since the medical marijuana system, although approved in 1998, never established dispensary regulations. Despite the fact that regulations may impede on the speed that recreational legalization takes effect, entrepreneurs such as Michael Smith of The Healing Center Medical Clinic in Anchorage are enthusiastic to do business. "This is great for Alaska and great for America", said Smith to the Huffington Post. Only time will tell how regulations, taxes, and licensing will effect dispensaries, but for the most part, marijuana entrepreneurs in both states are excited for the reform and embrace the business that's to come.