Dispensaries in Oregon began selling legal, recreational cannabis Oct. 1, becoming the third state to do so after Washington and Colorado.
Oregon’s over 250 medical cannabis dispensaries are now able to sell to recreational users, with many of the shops opening at midnight to those over 21.
Buyers are currently allowed to purchase up to seven grams of dried cannabis, in addition to seeds and plants. Edibles and oils are still restricted to medical patients until the state creates regulations around the products.
The end of prohibition in the state also comes with another incentive for buyers – the state’s 20 per cent tax on cannabis doesn’t begin until January.
As Oregon regulators won’t grant new permits to grow recreational cannabis until 2016, the supply limitations has producers unsure if they can keep up with demand for the remainder of the year.
Producer Jesse Peters currently grows 48 plants a day, six for each medical cardholder he represents, but he said due to recreational sales he’s sold out for the first time ever.
Peters said with the growth in recreational sales (over 10 per cent of Oregonians use marijuana) the demand for cannabis will increase five times.
“That supply chain is only built for 70,000 people,” Peters said. “Overnight, we’re going to go to 326,000 customers and that’s probably a low number. Plants can only grow so fast and it’s not until January the OLCC will start issuing the recreational cultivation licenses.”
Oregon only approved indoor growth of cannabis in October, so those operations haven’t had a long lead-time to begin large scale production.
“We have kind of a seasonal growing market here in Oregon,” said Nectar Cannabis owner Jeremy Pratt in Portland. “We have lots of product in the fall, and then it kind of gets tight this time of year anyway.”