Legislature, OLCC disagree on how to launch legal pot sales

A representative in the Oregon House wants medical marijuana dispensaries to handle recreational sales in the interim before the state is ready.

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A representative in the Oregon House wants medical marijuana dispensaries to handle recreational sales in the interim before the state is ready.

While the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is pleading for patience as it works to unveil the new system.

“OLCC would just like to stress to this committee that we really want to get it right and Oregon really wants to get it right,” said Rob Patridge, Klamath County District Attorney and chairman of the OLCC Board of Commissioners, earlier this week. “There’s also the setting of public expectation of less regulation, when I think the covenant with many voters was we were going to have a system similar to what the OLCC does with respect to alcohol.”

Patridge said a loosely regulated system could invite federal law enforcement scrutiny not only of Oregon’s recreational pot system, but also the medical marijuana program. Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, who has been working on the recreational sales concept with [Ted] Ferrioli (R-John Day), said he believed the proposal would actually provide greater assurance to federal law enforcement that Oregon is working to provide a legal way for adults to purchase pot so that legalization does not cause “a more entrenched underground market to flourish.”

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

Meanwhile in the U.S. House, a bipartisan majority voted to not interfere with state-run medical-marijuana operations.

“The medical marijuana train has definitely left the station,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

The government is instead focusing on preventing distribution to minors and keeping pot profits from going to organized criminal enterprises. Still, marijuana is a Schedule I drug under a landmark 1970 drug law, meaning the government deems it to have “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” The Treasury Department has also issued guidance intended to clarify that financial institutions can offer services to businesses that dispense marijuana, though industry advocates say most banks are still reluctant to do so for fear of prosecution.

(SOURCE: The Associated Press)

An amendment to allow recreational pot was defeated. But an amendment protecting industrial hemp passed.


Vancouver pot shop has highest sales

Thanks to Oregonians crossing the border, a pot shop in Vancouver reported the highest sales in the state of Washington.

Main Street Marijuana sold $1.8 million in May alone, the state liquor control board announced this week, besting Seattle-based Uncle Ike’s $1.5 million. Another Vancouver-based shop, New Vansterdam, ranked third in the state with $1.2 million in May sales. Marijuana sales across Washington have continued to increase since the state began allowing legal sales of the recreational drug last year. In May, Washington marijuana shops sold a combined $41.5 million.

Main Street has come out on top three months in a row, in part, owner Ramsey Hamide said, because it draws customers from two states: “Probably half of our business is from Oregon,” Hamide said.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

Hamide said “we have some tricks up our sleeve” for when Oregon’s legal pot system launches, encroaching on his market share: “We want to be the cheapest weed store in the world,” he said.