Event Updates: No Cannabis Cup, and a Waterfront Hempstalk

Bad news for Portland cannabis fans. As it turns out, Portland will not be having a 2015 HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup. Similarly to Hempstalk, the Cannabis Cup was continuously denied permits for locations in Portland. It’s strange, considering how much revenue the cup would bring, but apparently the largest opponent was the OLCC. No surprise there.

There are only so many venues that could host something as large as the Cannabis Cup. Amanda Younger, the Event Director for HIGH TIMES stated that “Portland-area venues that can accommodate such volume inevitably have liquor licenses. The OLCC made extremely clear that holding a Cannabis Cup at a venue with a liquor license would put that liquor license in jeopardy of being revoked, regardless of whether or not liquor would be served at the Cannabis Cup.” A continuous road-block for progress, the OLCC has been exercising the power granted by Measure 91. Which is, like, all the power – essentially the OLCC is the only government agency that has control over the cannabis industry and for some reason it’s holding Oregon back. HIGH TIMES is a huge name in the industry, and the Cannabis Cup is an international phenomenon. It’s pretty lame that Younger says that “bringing the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup to Oregon has proven to be a Herculean task— in fact, it’s been the most difficult of all of our Cannabis Cups to get off the ground.” So, what now?

The dates of Portland Hempstalk Harvest Festival have officially been announced: Oct. 17th – 18th. It certainly has the air of an Autumn harvest festival – but the real backlash is due to the location. To no fault of Paul Stanford or Hempstalk’s own, Tom McCall Park will once again be the host of Hempstalk. Fighting the OLCC and the Portland Police Commission was no easy task, and that seems largely not of concern to most Hempstalk attendees. It’s true, the event will be a shadow of its days at Kelly Point Park, but it seems that all these large events are met with resistance.

To HIGH TIMES, the city of Milwaukie seemed like a good alternative to metro Portland, but even that didn’t pan out. After exhaustive negotiations beginning in July this year, Younger withdrew the application for the Cannabis Cup in Milwaukie herself. She says to the city, “It has become clear to us that regardless of the amount of time we spend going back and forth on this application, the City of Milwaukie will never grant it.” Another embarrassing set-back. Hopefully Oregon and its government officials and agencies realize that legalization was a good idea, and that progress and possibilities for the state lie ahead.

October Sales: What really lies ahead

Obviously rushing to sales in October meant some speed bumps ahead, but it always seemed like the benefits far outweighed the costs. However, now I’m realizing that one of these costs is clarity. In trying to update and confirm the status on October sales, I’ve come across some confusing legislature.

Senate Bill 460, the bill allowing October sales, mentions nothing about taxation during this time period. There are stipulations – for example, recreational users 21 and over, may only buy up to a quarter ounce per day (per dispensary). That’s not a bad guideline, but it turns out that there will be quite a bit of tax on this weed. Maybe?

According to oregon.gov’s FAQ page on recreational marijuana, there will be a 25% tax to pay in dispensaries. The answer to the question of taxation continues: “Recreational sales in medical dispensaries are slated to start on October 1, 2015, and end on December 31, 2016.The tax will be imposed on sales after January 4, 2016.” I had already known of this possibility of tax-free weed and believed it, but here it’s mentioned so briefly. Does this 25% tax really start as late as January, even though it says that the “tax will be 25% for the limited time that recreational marijuana will be sold in dispensaries?”

That seems so straightforward – 25% tax for recreational sold in dispensaries. This starts in October and lasts until a predicted December 31st, 2016. This is already a limited amount of time, but the “after January 4, 2016” undercuts 3 months of that. However, despite that brief mention at the end, that sentiment suggests yes, tax-free weed.

That said, dispensaries are getting ready to take advantage of this opportunity for profit. I’ve already been made aware of the fact that some dispensaries will only be showing their buyers the “bottom shelf shwag,” as we say. Thousands of people who have never seen something like a dispensary will have this skewed perception of bud, and be paying extra for it. Not to mention, there will be a limit to only “4 units” of non-flower marijuana product. You can only buy seeds, flower, and clones (a marijuana plant that is not flowering). No concentrates, no edibles or drinkables, just cold, dry, flower.

Just kidding – it’s really not that bad, but once January hits, that 25% will be rough. When there’s no overlap of recreational retail stores, still predicted for open in July, 2016, it’ll be especially bad. When those retail stores open, the taxes will be around 17-20%, much less than the dispensary prices. But I’m predicting that right around May, all the dispensaries will start showing off, to keep the recreational crew coming. December 31st, 2016 marks the end of recreational sale in dispensaries, so they’ll have to use these upcoming months wisely. Keep an eye out for that bottom shelf, and growing your own is still the best way!

Where will you buy weed in Portland?

January 4th, when the OLCC starts reviewing applications for “persons to produce, process, and sell marijuana within the state,” is still months away. That doesn’t mean that future owners aren’t getting ready for retail locations, though! From big decisions to little details, there is a lot of responsibility and thought that goes into opening any store. The reward? Coming up with the perfect name. I took the liberty of picking some Portland-appropriate examples of your friendly neighborhood recreational stores.

Lewis and Clark’s journey across the Oregon Trail (now highway 20) led them all the way to the seaside. Everywhere else in the country, Oregon is mostly known for this “Or-e-gon” Trail. For generations, Americans learned (one version of) 1800s history all while fearing the results of chance and strategy. Fun, right? Well, now that Oregon holds the title of 4th state to legalize, it seems appropriate to embrace that past. Introducing: “Trail-Blazers,” the recreational pot shop for all your needs! No, you won’t be able to find the cure for dysentery, but you will be able to find the next best thing in marijuana consumption.

Nicole-has-dysentry

“Smoking tree” has been gaining popularity as a way to refer to smoking weed. As a result, Portland’s (503) area code has been modified to fit stoner needs. “Five-oh-tree” is a casual way for PDX smokers to recognize each other (“draw half a tree in the sand and he who completes it comes in peace” Herer: 420). You may have seen the (50tree) t-shirts walking around Portland. This doesn’t seem like too viable an option for a name due to its common use, but a recreational owner can run with it. “(High-0-3),” with the friendly Portland atmosphere you’re looking for!

The Rose Shoppe.” Embracing one of Portland’s many nicknames, the City of Roses, The Rose Shoppe is a humble neighborhood store. Maybe it even has a gimmick, like flower-only. Every year, a month after the Rose festival, The Rose Shoppe has an event in which they hold giveaways and carnival-like celebrations.

Portland Rose city

Bridge City – another one of Portland’s nicknames. Everywhere you look in Portland, there’s a bridge. And traffic because of that bridge. This store has locations on either side of the Willamette, so that when you need a pit stop during Portland’s rush hours of noon-8pm, you can pull off and grab some marijuana stuffs for later. “Bridge City Cannabis Club” is trendy and community-based. They have plenty of bicycle racks and give commute-by-bike punch cards that’ll get you a free joint after ten rides!

Portland-bridge

Ripped City” is the premier recreational store for the Portland metro area. Fans of the NBA Trailblazers know that the nickname “Rip City” came out of announcer Bill Schonely’s mouth randomly during a game against the Lakers. Portland’s propensity for nicknames made it stick, and now it’s a favorite when talking about the city. The name of this recreational store is almost too simple, but that’s why it’s perfect for people who want to walk in already “ripped” under the influence.

Portland has lots of different personalities and people. Its four quadrants contain as much variety as cities five times its size, so it’s fitting that a city like this has earned its nicknames. There are plenty of opportunities for puns and store titles, so those applying for recreational sale have lots of creative possibilities!

Recreational News: October sales mean future taxes

We’re coming up on the third week of July, and by now our honeymoon phase with recreational marijuana is coming to an end. There have been celebrations aplenty, and you have probably consumed lots and lots of weed in homes and private property. Hooray! Have you been gifting and being gifted marijuana like the considerate stoner you are? Or has it slowed down quite a bit since all the energized excitement seems to have fizzled out into a complacent happiness?

Retail shops seem farther away than ever with the OLCC still predicting that stores won’t open until July, 2016. Maybe your seeds have taken root, but you won’t know if you have a flower-producing female plant until a couple of weeks down the line. So what are you going to do now?

There have been rumors about dispensaries opening up to sell recreationally before the January, 2016 date of accepting retail applications. How accurate are these rumors? Pretty darn accurate, it seems. With the approval of House Bill 2041 , marijuana sold in recreational retail stores will be taxed up the wazoo (approximately 20%). That’s in 2016, though, when we can actually buy marijuana in retail stores. Right now, in 2015, there are none. However, legislation has passed (not yet made law) an “early sales” bill! Senate Bill 460 allows for dispensaries to temporarily sell adults recreational weed, and it’ll be in effect for October 1st. Not bad, Oregon! Only a three-month turnaround from when marijuana was officially legalized. But don’t get too excited just yet…

Due to the fact that Measure 91 taxes marijuana in retail stores, recreational marijuana bought in dispensaries will not be taxed this additional 20%. Is it truly as good as it seems? Tax-free recreational weed? House Bill 2041 has another idea – if/when Senate Bill 460 is made into law and early sales occur, the tax on recreational weed in retail stores will jump up to 25% (that’s 5% more wazoo!!). This means that during the months from October to when we have recreational retailers, it’s time to stock up on that non-taxed weed. As soon as retail stores are up and running, they will obviously have to comply with that taxation. A $170 ounce will cost you an additional $42 – basically $1.50 extra per gram. That $42 extra marks a huge difference in quality – you’re looking at the difference between a $6-a-gram ounce and an $8-a-gram ounce in what you’re paying for taxes alone.

If you’re a quality nut and you don’t want to pay 25% on top of your product, then there’s really only one thing to do. You know that saying, if you want something done right, do it yourself? Well, if you want something done right (and to also legally avoid retail taxes on recreational marijuana), grow it yourself. Get your green thumb ready for 2016, and think of future-you’s fulfillment when you have your own self-sustaining cannabis garden!

Dispensaries and Recreational Buyers: Can it happen?

July 1st hits, and your law abiding self is just getting your first seeds. But what happens between that ultimate first step, and the smokable end result? The Oregon Liquor Control Commission clarifies that July 1st marks the moment you can trade and gift marijuana to and from friends or others (whatslegaloregon.com). That’s great and all, but what are those to do whom have no acquaintances familiar with marijuana? Theoretically, no one but medical patients right now has smokable flower and extracts. Oregon could temporarily designate medical dispensaries (or some hours of operation?) to sell recreationally, and get the benefits of Measure 91 started right away.

As it stands, the OLCC won’t accept recreational applications until January 4th, 2016 – more than half a year from now. They predict that they’ll issue licenses “sometime next year.” Not that we should be ungrateful for Measure 91, but we could learn from the problems that arose from a delayed recreational market. Firstly, Oregon could make a ton of tax revenue in these summer months. Dispensaries could set guidelines that recreational users abide by and respect, and in turn, supply medical weed recreationally. A funnel of money would go back into the state. Not to mention? Away from the black market. That means all the money you’ve been giving to the neighbor that’s been upselling? It would go back into Oregon’s Common School Fund and Mental Health Alcoholism and Drug Services Account. Instead of dealing with a dealer (which is usually the worst), you could buy it at a place of business, and leave without feeling shifty. It would be a breath of fresh air for recreational users.

That neighbor? Might take it upon themselves to supply the recreational demand in this new emerging market. Let’s say they have their medical card and are a medical patient – it wouldn’t take much to go in the local dispensary with a chunk of change and buy some weed worth flipping. Suddenly the demand is too high and there’s a whole team of people selling weed illegally. They don’t care if you’re 21, or if you’re getting it because you feel “nauseous” – all they care is that you’ve got money. We could nip that scenario in the bud by cutting out the middleman. The legal source right now (cough, since plants aren’t growing just yet) is dispensaries, and it will be that way for months. If there was measure proposed that amended this, it would mean more money, and more legality.

Regulating recreational users needs to happen right now. Shifting everything from the black market to the legal one is crucial right now. Recreational is available only for those 21 and up. Each household will be able to have four plants – but the longer people have to wait, the more tempting it is to grow more weed. If recreational was available by the end of the summer, the benefits would outweigh the costs. And in the meantime? We’re just days away from more history being made!

Is Weed Legal in Portland, Oregon?

As you may already know, last month Oregon legalized recreational marijuana along with Alaska. Washington D.C. joined the party as well but with legislation that was a little bit different. With the addition of Oregon and Alaska, there are now 4 states including Washington and Colorado, who have legalized cannabis. The district of Washington DC makes it 5 total areas.

One of the questions we get asked the most, now that Oregon has become the 3rd state to legalize pot: Is Weed Legal in Portland, Oregon? The short answer is no, or not yet.

Now for the longer answer. According to Oregon.gov in the frequently asked questions section: Starting July 1, 2015, Measure 91 allows the personal use and possession of recreational marijuana under Oregon law.  It also gives OLCC authority to tax, license and regulate recreational marijuana.

So, in roughly 6 months, adults 21 or older will be able to possess and use marijuana. This will also give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, or the OLCC, the authority to regulate recreational marijuana, much like the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) oversees the recreational cannabis industry to the North.

Although recreational marijuana will technically be legal to possess and use beginning July 1 of 2015, it is not known f there will be any legal retail stores open to sell the product. If this is the case, one may wonder if grey area recreational marijuana delivery services will pop up just like they did in Washington State, especially Seattle.

So, there you have it: Is marijuana legal in Portland, Oregon: No or Not Yet.