Oregon dispensaries may be allowed to start selling recreational cannabis starting July 1 if an idea pitched by a state senator makes its way through the Legislature.
The proposal by Republican state Sen. Ted Ferrioli would act as a bridge between when sales will be allowed and when shops will begin operations.
Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon on July 1, but retail stores won’t open until 2016.
Under Ferrioli’s plan, medical cannabis growers would be able to sell excess marijuana to dispensaries for sale to recreational consumers, and the state would collect taxes on the transactions, according to the Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper.
The move would provide a huge boost for existing medical marijuana businesses, creating the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues.
Ferrioli, the co-vice chair of a committee charged with implementing the state’s recreational marijuana measure, said he’s received support from other legislators, the newspaper reported.
The state is home to roughly 175 operating dispensaries, but most of them are concentrated in a few areas.
Some 72% of Oregon’s 36 counties enacted temporary bans on MMJ businesses immediately after dispensary legalization took effect. While some of those bans have been lifted, only a third of residents live in areas where dispensaries are allowed to operate, leaving 47,000 patients without access to medical cannabis.