It wasn’t so much Black Friday as it was Green Thursday. Oregon marijuana legalization of recreational use found select dispensaries opening their doors just before midnight in anticipation of the October 1st
authorization of recreational sales in the Beaver State. By Oregon state law, recreational users are now allowed to buy up to a quarter ounce (7 grams) of dry weed at a time. However, edibles are still limited to medical marijuana patients only. Oregon already boasts a large number of medical marijuana dispensaries
of which just over 200 are offering recreational sales as of today. Despite Oregon’s marijuana laws, prohibition at the federal level means that dispensaries will only be accepting cash transactions for recreational cannabis purchases.
A Limited Window to Dodge Taxes
There are several reasons that Oregon marijuana legalization found recreational users lining up outside the dispensaries in the wee hours of October 1st
; chief among them the state’s temporary tax emption on weed. Recreational marijuana purchases are expected to dodge taxes until January 2016 at which point heavy taxes will be tied onto weed sales.
But the taxes are a double-edged sword; they may drive up the price tag on recreational marijuana but they’re also the primary reason behind Oregon marijuana legalization. The state is estimated to make a staggering $10.7 million in tax revenue within the first 2 years of legalization. As it stands, dry herb will be hit with a hefty tax of $35.00/ounce, leaf will carry a lighter tax of $10.00/ounce, and young pre-flower plants will; be taxed at $5.00/ounce.
Other Incentives for Recreational Marijuana Enthusiasts
While the tax-free status of cannabis sales would probably be enough reason to line up on October 1st
, many dispensaries have launched into promotional juggernaut mode. A bevy of promotions and advertisements flooded Oregon with some dispensaries hitting the airwaves while others went for a more visual approach with billboards. Some dispensaries trumpeted the fruits of Oregon marijuana legalization by giving away free weed and food. Extended hours were par for the course.
The dispensaries aren’t the only businesses getting in on the act. The largest site in the world devoted to cannabis, Leafly, hit select weed dispensaries with food trucks in tow, offering free food to scratch the munchie itch of fans willing to share their content on social media.
Oregon Marijuana Legalization Isn’t As Easy As it Looks
While the introduction of recreational marijuana sales may seem like a full-speed-ahead party, it’s only because all facets of the industry are doing what they can to minimize the bumps in the road. The other two big recreational marijuana states, Colorado and Washington, set a precedent with issues of supply shortages and rocketing prices in the early days of recreational sales.
Nature may not be on the side of the dispensaries with the summer months being particularly tough on Oregon’s marijuana crop. With the state’s 2015 outdoor harvest still on the horizon, the weight of production for recreational marijuana demand falls on the shoulders of indoor growers. While this typically may not have been an issue, Oregon marijuana legalization officials announced the ban lift date of October 1st
in the early summer leaving the industry a mere 3 months to prepare for recreational retail.
While Oregon is currently relying on medical marijuana dispensaries to handle the demand for recreational weed, the state is expected to more closely follow the model of the preceding recreational marijuana states with recreationally-focused shops opening in 2016. Oregon will remain a state to watch as it joins its predecessors as an example of the benefits and hurdles of marijuana legalization.