Gift-giving takes a new twist this holiday season, the first since marijuana sales became legal in October for recreational users in Oregon.
Those who partake may find joy in giving and receiving, but the Oregon Health Authority reminded consumers and marijuana dispensary owners that the same rules conceived in July for buying and selling recreational marijuana remain valid in December.
“Our concern is always going to be public health, again, making sure marijuana products don’t fall into the hands of minors,” said OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie. “Children are vulnerable members of our population. That’s our main concern.”
The state has allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to temporarily sell recreational pot while the Oregon Liquor Control Commission finalizes rules regulating the production, processing and sale of recreational marijuana. Recreational sales at dispensaries end on Dec. 31, 2016, according to state law.
Some dispensaries are offering discounted marijuana, others gift certificates or gift packages. Only adults age 21 and over with a valid identification may buy recreational marijuana in Oregon.
Oregrown, 1199 NW Wall St., created small gift boxes to hold one, two or four child-resistant containers of marijuana flower. Only medical marijuana cardholders may purchase marijuana extracts or oils or edible items made with those products. The most recreational marijuana any individual may purchase at one dispensary each day is 7 grams, a quarter-ounce.
“This was designed with the 7-gram limit in mind,” said Oregrown co-owner Aviv Hadar, showing the Bend shop’s packaging. “Imagine giving this to someone.”
It makes a choice gift, he said, but not something he’d put under the tree in a household with children.
Oregrown will gift wrap the box, but dispensaries that gift wrap packages of marijuana need to stay on the conservative side, Modie said. State regulations prohibit dispensaries from packaging marijuana in a way that appeals to children, especially if the packaging includes cartoons and bright colors.
“There’s wrapping paper that is perhaps more attractive to children than another wrapping paper. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “You don’t want to package it in a way, including wrapping paper, that draws children to it in the first place.”
Other dispensaries are packaging gift sets that include a small amount of marijuana or gift certificates for later marijuana purchases.
Dr. Jolly’s, 415 SE Third St., assembled two gift packs. Each comes with a marijuana cigarette, a shirt, glass jar, lighter and glass pipe, plus either $60 or $100 in gift certificates. A $100 gift certificate typically buys more than the daily maximum amount, so the certificates are handed out in $20 increments, said dispensary owner Ben Hebert.
“It’s a bundle,” he said. “The person you give (the certificate) to can pick out what they want.”
Promotions by dispensaries, including discounts on marijuana, are allowed as long as the drug is not given away to recreational users, Modie said.
Dispensaries commonly offer daily or weekly discounts, and some cut prices deeply to stimulate sales, but “that’s not quite free,” he said.
High Grade Organics, 224 Davis Ave., in Bend, is selling a stocking-stuffer set of a small Mason jar, a silicon koozie around it and a marijuana cigarette, a lighter, rolling paper and hemp wick inside, said Abigail Craig, assistant manager.
Shop owner Nick Harsell said he’s planning a pretax sale on selected marijuana strains before the year is out. On Jan. 4, a 25 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana takes effect.