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What To Do Before Opening a Marijuana Dispensary in Portland Oregon


Many cannabis entrepreneurs have thought about investing in a marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon, or other local cities. And it’s no surprise as to why. Over the past few decades, this state has had an exciting history with cannabis legalization, leading the way for many others. If you’re planning to apply for a business license in Oregon though, there are some facts that you should take into account during this process. In this article, we gathered some data about cannabis shops in Oregon to help you make the right decisions. We also outlined the different paths to follow to get your license.

So let’s begin with the most important question:

Is Cannabis Legal in Oregon?

The simple answer is Yes! Oregon is a very marijuana-friendly state. However, there are certain rules that you must pay attention to if you’re thinking of opening a marijuana dispensary in Portland. Although adults are allowed to grow up to four plants per household, these plants must be kept out of sight. Smoking in public is illegal, and you can only carry on you up to one ounce (28 grams) at any given time.

So When Did Legalization Occur?

In 1973, this state became the first to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the U.S. Throughout the 80s and 90s, many initiatives were then carried out to try and legalize cannabis. Each attempt, however, was overruled by voters. In 1998, the state approved the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, allowing medical marijuana cardholders to grow and possess small amounts of cannabis. It wasn’t until July 2015, that Oregon legalized marijuana for recreational use. Ever since then, it has become a booming city for retailers.

Cannabis legalization event promoted in Oregon in 2015, when the state legalized recreational use

Oregon Cannabis Dispensaries: A Competitive Market

A recent study conducted by Verilife shows that the number of Oregon cannabis dispensaries per capita is the highest in the country. The state has over 600 in total, which equivolates to 16.5 for every 100,000 inhabitants. The number of marijuana dispensaries in Portland, Oregon, is the 6th highest in the entire country, with 14.5 for every 50,000 residents. These numbers are pretty high compared to other states. There are many reasons for this, including facilitated licensing after the legalization.

The regulatory agency responsible for issuing cannabis business licenses is the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). A saturated market caused the OLCC to suspend accepting new applications for recreational marijuana producers until 2022. However, you can purchase a licensed marijuana producer business and notify the regulatory agency. Applying for different licenses such as processing or retailing is still possible. Undoubtedly, Oregon has a highly competitive yet promising market for producing, processing, and selling cannabis goods.

Available Recreational Cannabis Business Licenses in Oregon

There are four major types of licenses in Oregon for marijuana businesses. If you want to grow recreational cannabis, you must obtain a recreational producer license. This license allows you to cultivate and sell your products to wholesalers, retailers, and processors. The OLCC is currently not receiving applications for this license, but you can purchase a business with an active license and inform the agency about the transaction.

If you plan to manufacture cannabis concentrates, extracts, edibles, and similar goods, you need a processor license. This allows you to purchase from licensed producers and sell your product to wholesalers and retailers. In short, a wholesaler license enables you to buy and sell products from and to other marijuana businesses. To sell recreational marijuana to consumers, you need to apply for a retailer license with the OLCC.

Cannabis farm in Oregon. New applications for producers are closed for now, but you can purchase a licensed business

Medical Marijuana Licensing in Oregon

The licenses for medical marijuana businesses in Oregon are processed by a separate regulatory agency, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). Under the Oregon Health Authority, this body is responsible for issuing medical marijuana business licenses and medical marijuana cards for patients. The OMMP has separate licenses for medical marijuana growers, processors, dispensaries, physicians, laboratories, and property owners. Unlike the recreational growing license, the medical marijuana growing license is not closed for applications. A grower can be someone chosen by a patient, and the OMMP designates plant limits. Growers must register their grow site if they’re cultivating for people other than themselves, in a place other than their home, have more than 12 plants, or need to transfer product excess.

Is it Legal to Buy Cannabis Seeds in Oregon?

Yes, any adult over the age of 21 can legally purchase cannabis clones or seeds in Oregon. If you don’t have a business license, you can grow up to four plants for recreational purposes at your house. There’s no limit to the number of seeds you can have.

That said, should you buy cannabis seeds in Oregon? Well, you can find all types of seeds available at local dispensaries, but if you’re a commercial grower, it can be risky. The germination process can take a few weeks before you find out if the plant is female and several months before you confirm the strain. A viable solution for growing cannabis for commercial purposes (medical or recreational) is to buy clones.

Finding a dependable cannabis nursery is not a straightforward process. You should pay attention to the mother plants’ health, check the clones for root presence, and make sure there’s no presence of mold or disease. Once you have found the perfect clones, make sure to transplant and transition them carefully to avoid shock. Further down the line, you could even consider investing in your own nursery and cloning the best plants to ensure stable genetics.

Final Thoughts

Oregon is an exciting state for cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs alike. However, the market is competitive, and you must have a clear business plan. There are hundreds of dispensaries and businesses in Oregon, and the consumers can be demanding. But don’t be deterred. Instead, let this challenge fuel your business decisions. With the right tools, clones, and knowledge, you can grow your business and become a high-end dispensary that offers luxury products for a sophisticated audience. And whatever your goals may be for opening a marijuana dispensary, we wish you the best of luck when starting a cannabis business in Oregon!

The team at Homegrown Nursery wrote this article. We are a cannabis nursery in California, but we deliver healthy and rooted clones in Southern Oregon. Stay tuned for more marijuana insights like this on our Cannabis News page!

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