You may need to stop at a couple dispensaries if you're buying recreational weed this month.
Right now, almost 200 dispensaries statewide are temporarily barred from selling recreational marijuana, due to holdups from the OLCC.
On January 1, dispensaries that has been serving both recreational and medical customers were faced with a decision. They could choose to either go through the Oregon Health Authority for a medical license or the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to be recreational.
Ka'ala L., who runs Marijuana Paradise on SW Barbur Blvd. says she turned in her recreational application to the OLCC on January 1, but wasn't assigned an inspector until last week. She says there is still no date set for the inspection.
Being shut out of the recreational market has been a disaster for her shop.
"Ninety percent of revenue has been lost with this change," she tells WW. "It's been hard. We've had to cut the staff's hours and temporary layoffs in order to keep the business going."
Ka'ala says she's also spoken with other vendors and growers who have had to close their shop completely until their rec license comes through. She also says she's been hearing from customers that they've had to go to several dispensaries before finding one where they can buy rec weed.
"We get a lot of upset customers about this law change and how they're just trying to get some cannabis, and having a hard time finding it," she says. "It's been really hard and difficult and we're trying to stay afloat."
As of 8 am on Feb. 10, there were still 2,097 applications for labs, processors, producers, retailers and wholesalers to sell recreational marijuana in Oregon, according to the OLCC.
Out of these, 887 have an active license, meaning the approved applicant has paid license fee and OLCC has issued the license. Another 39 applicants have been approved, but not paid the fee. Another 241 applicants submitted an application but has not submitted a completed Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) signed by the applicant's local government.
That leaves 930 applications that are either assigned an inspector, or awaiting assignment. That's for labs, processors, producers, retailers and wholesalers in Oregon.
If we look at only retailers, that leaves 161 applicants that are assigned and another 27 that are ready for assignment—meaning there are 188 marijuana retailers in Oregon that are still awaiting OLCC approval to sell recreational marijuana.
In comparison, as of Feb. 3, there were 108 retailers with approved licenses in Multnomah County.
This isn't necessarily only dispensaries converting; they could also be new companies, the OLCC says.
The OLCC says the delay is due to many retailers not getting all of their correct paperwork in on time, or submitting applications in the last few days of 2016.
"A lot of folks who applied at the very end of the year and were expecting they'd get a license within a day or two—it takes a couple weeks, for paperwork to be checked, to check their fingerprints, check they've got their documents in order and physically inspect their locations," says the marijuana program spokesperson Mark Pettinger. "There's one story in the cannabis trade industry that lamented the case for two-three dispensaries. When we went back and checked, they'd either submitted incompletely or at the last minute—so December 29 or 30, thinking they'd get a license on January 1."
He went on to say that people often assume that the OLCC is not prepared.
"They could have applied in August, September, October, applied for a license gone though the process of converting to an OLCC license, been approved, and waited until they wanted to flip the switch," he says.