Oregon will release draft rules covering medical marijuana dispensaries within the next few days, according to state officials.
The move is an important step toward creating a network of regulated, licensed dispensaries to serve patients across the state. The rules will detail proposed regulatory requirements cannabis businesses must meet to obtain licenses and operate going forward.
Officials will seek input from the public in a series of hearings before finalizing the rules.
The state plans to begin accepting business applications in early March, and the first dispensaries could open later in the year.
Oregon legalized medical cannabis in 1998, though the law did not specifically allow for dispensaries. But unregulated dispensaries opened up regardless in recent years as officials looked the other way, and currently an estimated 170-200 exist. Those dispensaries will now be forced to apply for and obtain business licenses to continue operating.