In 2015, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an emergency bill declaring cannabis sales legal to recreational users from dispensaries starting October 1, 2015, during an “early sales” period, through the end of 2016. Additional legislation signed into law by Governor Brown in March 2016 allowed the sale of medical and recreational cannabis from the same outlets. Effective January 1, 2017, marijuana can be sold for recreational use only by businesses that have obtained a “recreational license” from the OLCC, such businesses can also sell for medical use.

Cannabis usage rates indicate a larger share of Oregonians have used marijuana in the past month than what is reported in Washington. As such, Oregon is more likely to see larger sales than Washington, after adjusting for population size. However, usage is not the only measure that matters, prices and taxes matter. Oregon has a significantly lower tax rate than does Washington, which helps keep final consumer prices lower. Furthermore, the first set of quarterly tax returns, a very limited data set, indicates that Oregon prices were very competitive with Washington prices, even though Washington had two additional years to get accustomed to the newly legal market, license growers, processors and the like. A lower retail price, everything else equal, should bring more consumers and more black-market conversions.

Recreational sales tripled in Oregon from February to August 2016, though they were hurt by the implementation of strict new testing standards. The sales figures are especially striking because they come amid a time of historically low wholesale marijuana prices, implying that demand is even stronger than sales would suggest. Oregon had an established medical cannabis industry before the legalization of recreational marijuana, and early adult-use sales through existing dispensaries took place before the first rec-only retailers were licensed, which explains the relatively quick turnaround time.

Oregon’s 350 retail outlets selling cannabis to adult shoppers generated $292 million in sales or more than $800,000 per location, and Oregon’s 381 medical dispensaries experienced average sales per location of $265,000 over the same period. Thus, Oregon dispensaries sold $393 million in legal cannabis in 2016 with 115% growth rate from the previous year. It is projected Oregon could be achieving $1 billion in recreational and medical cannabis sales to 2025 and reach the 5 percentage of the whole legal cannabis market.

In Oregon where concentrates and edibles were only allowed for the first time in the adult-use channel in July 2016, the transformation in category happened almost overnight. Concentrates quickly picked up 21% of the market, while pre-rolled products took 7% and edibles 8%.

Application Stats

Through July 2017, there were 1,139 submitted applications and 128 licenses approved.

Through January 2017, there were 2,030 submitted applications and 831 licenses approved.

Through February 2017, there were 917 licensed recreational marijuana businesses in Oregon, with another 1,225 business permit applications pending.

New Cannabis Opportunities – Delivery Service

Hoping to attract smaller, new businesses to the local cannabis market, the City Council in Portland, Oregon, has approved an ordinance that creates a new class of license for delivery-only cannabis businesses.

These new cannabis delivery services would be prohibited from selling cannabis from storefront locations. They also could accept and deliver orders only during certain hours and would be prohibited from delivering beyond city limits, KATU News reported.


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