PORTLAND, Ore. – A day after Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 91, which legalizes recreational marijuana, Harvey Cummings is already looking to the future.
“We are so excited that it passed. I think it’s positive on so many levels,” Cummings said.
He owns Health Awareness Group, a medical marijuana dispensary on the corner of Northwest 23rd Avenue and Kearney Street.
Although Measure 91 doesn’t touch medical marijuana in Oregon, he’s hoping the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will allow dispensaries to sell recreational pot as well.
“I think that is our hope. We still want to service the medical people. I mean, I think that’s an important factor. But, I think that having this infrastructure in place will make a smoother transition for this industry,” Cummings said.
Across town at Shango Premium Cannabis, co-founder Shawn Mckee is hoping for the same. And, the reason is simple.
“Right now everything’s nonprofit, reimbursement, donations, growing for the patient.” McKee said. “We really look forward to being a main stream business that has a product that anybody is able to buy.”
Both Mckee and Cummings point out that because medical marijuana dispensaries are already regulated by the state, their marijuana is tested and tracked. And, Cummings adds, they have security measures in place.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, there are currently 196 medical marijuana dispensaries approved to operate in the state, with 70 of those being in Portland.
The decision, though, sits with the OLCC. The agency has until January of 2016 to draft rules and implement regulations surrounding recreational pot.
“Whether we can have kind of a medical marijuana store and a recreational store is still out,” said Rob Patridge, OLCC chair. “Oregonians are going to have an opportunity to talk with the OLCC about that as we continue to adopt our rules.”
In the meantime, Cummings and Mckee are crossing their fingers, hoping to add recreational pot to their menus.
“I think that all of the dispensary owners or a good majority is very focused on this market,” Cummings said.