Oregon Dispensary Fee Proposals: $2,000-$6,000 to Obtain MMJ Business License

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Dispensaries in Oregon might have to plunk down thousands of dollars to apply for and obtain a business license to operate in the state.

A committee tasked with hammering out specifics of Oregon’s new dispensary law discussed the issue at a recent meeting, with members floating proposals that would put the cost of getting a license at between $2,000 and $6,000. One committee member, a county district attorney, suggested a $1,000 application fee and a $5,000 annual licensing fee.

A current dispensary owner, however, pushed for a much lower fee structure: $400 to apply and $1,600 annually.

The committee will debate the fees and other issues over the next month before making a final recommendation to the state’s health department, and other proposals will likely be considered. Still, the numbers give entrepreneurs an idea of what the fee structure could look like.

Under Oregon’s new dispensary law, the state can collect roughly $803,276 in fees every two years from the program. In the end, the exact fee structure could therefore depend on the committee’s best estimates for how many dispensaries will apply for and receive business licenses.

Oregon is home to 170-200 unregulated dispensaries, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook.

Dozens of those dispensaries, and perhaps more, will likely not be able to meet the strict requirements to obtain a license in the new regulated climate. So if 100 dispensaries end up applying receiving licenses, the state could charge no more than $8,000 in fees for each dispensary over a two-year period. In that scenario, the state might charge $1,000 for the application fee and $3,000 annually (for a total of $7,000 in the first two years), which would give it a buffer to account for more dispensaries than expected or additional applicants that don’t qualify for an actual license.

The district attorney’s proposal – which amounts to $11,000 over two years – allows for about 70 dispensaries, max. Under the dispensary owner’s proposal – $3,600 in fees the first two years – the state could accommodate more than 200 dispensaries.

There’s a good chance the group will settle on something at the higher end of the fee spectrum, as Oregon’s governor previously said it is “critical” to set fees that provide sufficient funding for “extraordinarily vigorous” enforcement of the rules.

In addition to fees, the committee is debating other regulations on everything from security to testing. It will finalize its official recommendations by Dec. 1.