Oregon has had recreational cannabis for a while now, but they are still facing a lot of hurdles in order to get going with the new industry. In fact, they have been facing these since back when only medical marijuana was allowed in-state. One of the things that the local government has done to put a damper on things is to enact temporary bans on the industry in light of these new laws.
In fact, 72% of the state’s counties have fallen back on this ban as a way to stop legal cannabis from emerging. This has been devastating to the businesses that were operating in these areas. They suddenly had to close and freeze all business when the bans went through, which set some of them further back permanently. While some of these businesses were able to get past the laws and continue operating, most have suffered innumerable losses.
The total amount of banned areas adds up to 142 cities and 26 counties that have put the freeze on local businesses, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Two of the only cities who did not enact this ban are the most liberal cities, Portland and Eugene. The original reasoning for these bans was that local jurisdictions felt they needed more time to study the effects of legal cannabis on local communities. However, although things have gone successfully in Colorado and Washington, these restrictions have still not been repealed. The advent of recreational cannabis, while usually seen by the legalization movement as a good thing, has further freaked out local officials who were hesitant to even allow medical marijuana in their locales, making the state of existing businesses even flimsier.
The bans are due to expire very soon, on May first of this year. However, it is still unclear for many business if they will be able to reopen and resume operations as usual, or if they will remain in economic limbo. It is the State Health Authority that makes these rules, and regardless of the recently passed Measure 91, they are not quite ready to give up and allow legal cannabis in Oregon.
Jeremy Greene, an Oregon lawyer representing businesses in many of these small towns, was interviewed by Marijuana Business Daily last year regarding his involvement in this sticky situation.
“I think a lot of cities are kind of hoping the bigger cities utilize their resources to develop those,” Green said. “And then the smaller cities will look at what’s being developed.”
The counties were able to impose these restrictions by passing SB 1531 last year, which gives local governments the power to put the freeze on these stores if they see fit.
Similarly, Massachusetts faced moratoriums in 50 cities, and Colorado is still 65% dry from cannabis, as many states and counties do not allow recreational dispensaries. Both of these states are still working out the kinks of how to fully legalize cannabis, and things are not likely to be resolved anytime soon. The fact of the matter is, although legal cannabis has won in so many states, it is still very controversial for a lot of people. Not everyone is willing to accept that marijuana can be regulated like alcohol or tobacco, in a safe and respectful manner.
Luckily, the industry overall has made many positive strides over the past year, hopefully enough to convince those making the rules in Oregon that they can safely lower these bans and allow business to resume as usual. The existence of sites like Weed Depot, which offer legitimate services for interested buyers, as well as helpful guides to finding cannabis products, should assist in moving along this process and bringing marijuana even further into the accepted mainstream. Once this happens, Oregon will undoubtedly enjoy a major boom in local industry.