SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some 30 counties and cities in Oregon approved some type of legal cannabis businesses in last week’s election, and officials in those communities now must establish rules for every step in the production and supply chain.
When voters legalized recreational cannabis statewide two years ago, the communities — from the cowboy town of Pendleton to Sweet Home in the Willamette Valley — opted out. But many switched it up this month, voting to allow at least some form of the legal cannabis industry, including medical marijuana.
“No one has done this in Oregon since liquor Prohibition,” said Scott Winkels, a lobbyist with the League of Oregon Cities. “This is the first time we’ve had to step in and develop and regulate a marketplace for a controlled substance since 1933.”
Local officials must determine operating hours for legal cannabis retailers, growing farms and processors. They also were trying to figure out whether the businesses should be allowed near parks and what sort of security and odor controls the businesses must provide.
The rule-setting also was happening in other states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
In California, which approved adult-use cannabis last week, the San Jose City Council imposed a temporary ban — including on outdoor gardens — to give officials time to develop regulations for sales and farming.
In Colorado, where voters passed legalization in 2012, the rules were still being tweaked.
This month, Denver became the first U.S. city to allow people to use legal cannabis in bars and restaurants, though state licensing officials announced a rule Friday that prohibits businesses with liquor licenses from allowing cannabis consumption on their premises. The move strikes a major blow to the voter-passed initiative.
In Oregon, the Liquor Control Commission didn’t begin finalizing regulations and licensing businesses until this year. The communities that approved cannabis businesses on Election Day are now starting to look at regulations.