New year brings new changes to Oregon's recreational marijuana i - KPTV - FOX 12

New year brings new changes to Oregon's recreational marijuana industry

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Oregonians are about to ring in 2017 - but with the new year comes new changes for Oregon's recreational marijuana industry.

As Oregon continues to incorporate legal marijuana, December 31 marks an important deadline in the industry.

After Saturday, medical dispensaries won't be able to sell recreational pot without a license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

At Blooming Deals in Beaverton, it's the dawn of a new day thanks to their marijuana retailer license that the store got Wednesday night.

"The process was rigorous, very time consuming but worth it," said Annie Rothrock, manager of Blooming Deals.

With the new year just two days away, there's a rush for licenses. The OLCC has received more than 500 applications for retail stores this year, including a surge of more than 100 just in the month of December.

OLCC staff are working to approve dozens more by Friday.

"Our Seaside location, we're scrambling right now. Working on it out there today," said Rothrock.

For businesses that don't get their licenses before the end of the year, applications will still be processed in 2017, and new ones can be filed at any time since there's no cap on the number of retailers that will be allowed in Oregon. 

But getting that retail license before the new year is a big deal for many businesses.

At Blooming Deals, for instance, only 20 percent of business comes from medical patients, and without that license they would miss out on 80 percent of the revenue pot starting January 1.

"It would have been a let down. I mean, our business has been growing so quickly and we've been constantly moving with the OLCC and the OHA towards the future of this industry and so if this is the way that we'll continue into the future then it would have been really upsetting if we weren't on that train going forward," Rothrock said.

As of now, there are 182 active retail stores in that state and the OLCC will still have about 170 retail applications to process in the new year.

This year, Oregon has taken in more than $54 million in marijuana taxes.

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