Portland, Oregon and Mount Hood from Pittock Mansion

Portland approves pot delivery service

Portland city council has unanimously approved the creation of a new “marijuana courier” business license, allowing cannabis businesses the option of functioning as a delivery-only operation.

Acknowledging that Oregon’s regulated cannabis industry is too expensive for most entrepreneurs to become licensed, rent or buy a storefront location as well as purchase product, the council hopes that the ordinance will attract new “microbusiness entrepreneurs” to the city.

The delivery-only cannabis business license is the first of its kind in the United States. Courier businesses, like dispensaries and retailers, must keep their headquarters at a minimum of 305 metres (1,000 feet) away from a school and must remain at least  the same distance apart from other cannabis businesses. Businesses will be allowed to receive orders daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with deliveries allowed up until 9 p.m.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission already allows licensed cannabis retail dispensaries to deliver to homes, but this new license category will allow retailers to sell cannabis products, including edibles, extracts and concentrates, solely through delivery

To get a courier license, business owners must fill out a personal history form and obtain an alarm permit from the Portland Police Bureau and an electrical permit from the Bureau of Development Services. Proof of an air filtration system is also required and a driver cannot carry more than $3,000 worth of cannabis in a vehicle at any one time.

Included in the approval of the ordinance is the creation of new categories for licenses, including two separate “micro-producer” tiers for growers who cultivate no more than 625 square feet or 1,250 square feet of cannabis plants, and a “micro-wholesaler” category for businesses that buy seeds or immature plants from micro-producers.

Starting January 1, Oregon dispensaries will only be able to continue selling recreational marijuana if they’ve obtained a retail license. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement, which handles the application process, has been overwhelmed with license applications over the last few months.

To help in managing the current backlog, the council unanimously agreed to remove requirements for final inspections and an approved building permit for wholesalers, retailers, and dispensaries. The council also approved amendments to change the hours of operation for marijuana retail businesses to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and added a five-day grace period for medical dispensaries to transition to retailers once a state license is obtained.

Recreational cannabis sales in Oregon began in October 2015, and already the state’s legal cannabis market has so far generated more sales and tax revenue than initially projected.