Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensaries are preparing for enhanced sales, as recreational pot users will also be able to purchase weed at their shops.
More than 200 of Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensaries plan to start selling recreational marijuana starting Thursday. The plans were notified to the Oregon Health Authority. However, dispensaries that have not been approved or are still in the application process may not be granted the qualification for selling, OHA spokesman, Jonathan Modie, said.
Measure 91, under which it became legal to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana for personal use effective July 1, was passed in November. Early sales of recreational marijuana will be tax-free to stem black market sales. A 25-percent tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana will be added starting January 4.
Meanwhile, according to the Register Guard, a building at 600 County Club Road will be given a $27 million upgrade to create a new clinic for the Oregon Medical Group. This new clinic will house a state-of the-art imaging center. Oregon Medical Group, founded in 1988, is a primary-care, multi-specialty doctor’s group that sees 425,000 patient visits a year. It has 700 employees, 550 full-time workers, and 140 providers that include doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physical therapists, Chief Operating Officer, Joshua Kimball, said.
The new clinic is scheduled to open in April 2017, and will have imaging, podiatry, orthopaedics, sports medicine, physical therapy, endocrinology, internal medicine providers and a walk-in clinic. These inclusions were considered keeping in mind “the patient’s perspective,” Kimball said. He further added, “We’re putting orthopedics and podiatry together, so they can share imaging services. And they have casting requirements for broken bones or podiatry foot castings, so they can share staff.”
However, early retail sales of marijuana have been prohibited by 10 cities and two counties, including Douglas and Harney counties, Gresham, Brownsville, John Day, Junction City, La Grande, Reedsport and Sherwood. On the other hand, recreational pot has been legalized in Washington, Colorado and Alaska.
While Oregon dispensaries near the highly anticipated moment of starting to offer recreational pot, it is difficult to foresee what impact adult recreational sales will bring. “It’s going to be a surprise for everybody, we’re hoping it’s really busy,” Lois Pariseau, of Gras Cannabis in Portland, said, as reported by KOMO. She further said that it is empirical that prospective buyers first understand what is legal. “It’s very important for everyone to really read the rules, and follow the law to a T,” she said.
Recreational sales could also affect medical marijuana users, Anthony Taylor, president of the nonprofit group Compassionate Oregon, said. “We’re really nervous. The dispensaries might sell all the marijuana to recreational people and the patients will be left without their medicine,” he said. Taylor’s group has sent letters to dispensaries, requesting that they maintain adequate amount of marijuana and to prioritize medical patients ahead of recreational pot users.
“We don’t expect [dispensaries] to turn away business,” Taylor said, “but we do hope… everybody understands that in medical marijuana dispensaries, the patients come first.”
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