OLCC wants to separate medical, recreational pot sales

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission's Rules Advisory Committee is proposing not allowing recreational pot shops to sell to medical patients.

The OLCC doesn't have oversight over the medical marijuana program but the Oregon Health Authority does, and because of this, the two programs will remain separate.

Scott Grenfeld owns Rip City Remedies, a medical dispensary in Southeast Portland.

"If that's the choice we have to make," Grenfeld said on having to decide between medical and recreational. "Unfortunately we don't have an option to stay alive."

He has seen increased business since recreational sales started Oct. 1.

"I think it would work," Grenfeld said. "I think we're showing that it would work in what we're doing now with the early sales."

Aviv Hadar, owner of Oregrown, a dispensary in Bend that saw the state's biggest sales, says both markets serve necessary purposes and "need to be able to live and thrive side by side."

"Medical cannabis users will have the same access," Hadar said. "I would expect to see a plethora of highly talented cultivators emerge alongside some wonderful, exciting and new medical offerings."

The OLCC recommendations also call for a licensing fee that's roughly four times as much as what voters approved when passing Measure 91.

"The fees are reasonable," Hadar said. "It takes staff time to sift through documents and input data."

Hadar says while the license which is just shy of $5,000 isn't ideal, he adds, "Let's be happy the fees aren't $25,000 or $50,000, like in some states."

Grenfeld says while the state fee isn't too bad, city license costs will cost him around $9,000.

"If we allow that to happen the fees are going to accumulate," Grenfeld said. "And who knows where they could end up."