Portland, Oregon and Mount Hood from Pittock Mansion

Portland to vote on delivery-based cannabis retailers

Hunter S. Thompson famously said that “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” The maxim seems doubly apt as civic politicians in a city whose unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird” vote today on a new program that would allow door-to-door cannabis delivery suppliers to operate.

The brainchild of city commissioner Amanda Fritz, the head honcho of regulating the Oregon city’s head shops and other cannabis businesses, the ordinance would change existing business rules to allow “marijuana retail couriers” to sell cannabis via delivery daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If city council OKs the proposal, it will be North America’s very first delivery-only retail cannabis licensing system.

The goal is to expand opportunities for “microbusiness entrepreneurs” to enter the marijuana marketplace, and delivery services will be subject to most of the same rules and regulations as storefront retail cannabis shops. A delivery service’s point of origin, or headquarters, must be at least 1,000 feet (305 metres) from schools and other cannabis businesses, although deliveries would be permitted to houses that fall within those ranges. Cannabis must also be kept in a locked and clearly labeled container, and a driver would be forbidden from carrying than $3,000 worth of pot in the vehicle at any one time.

Delivery licenses aren’t the only potential pot-related changes coming to the City of Roses. City council will also consider creating new categories for licenses, including a tier for “micro-producers” permitted to cultivate no more than 625 square feet of plants, a tier for “micro-producers” who will be cultivating up to 1,250 square feet, and a third tier for “micro-wholesalers” who buy seeds or immature cloned plants from other micro-producers for resale.

City Hall is also considering changing the permited operating hours for cannabis businesses to get in line with the state’s normal business hours (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.), and allowing a five-day grace period for medical dispensaries to transition to become retailers once they receive a license from the state.

Oregon became the third U.S. state last year to allow the sale of recreational cannabis product.