Report: City’s slow license process could add to Oregon MJ woes

A new report asserts that regulators in Portland, Oregon, have been slow to approve hundreds of cannabis retail applications for licenses, a situation that could further disrupt the state’s already troubled marijuana industry.

“Based on data from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement on the city of Portland’s website, it appears that only 5.4% of all applications submitted in 2016 have been licensed by the city,” said Beau Whitney, the report’s author and an economist who heads Whitney Economics.

“This is having a profound effect on the Portland cannabis industry.”

Further, the report contends, only 19 of 355 recreational license applications submitted to Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement have been issued so far this year. That means 336 Portland marijuana businesses could end up without licenses if city officials don’t pick up the approval pace.

The lack of approved businesses could total more than $22 million in lost monthly marijuana retail revenue for Portland, the report said.

Overall, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is processing more than 900 licenses from throughout the state to get businesses licensed by Dec. 31. But Portland requires cannabis retailers to fill out a separate city application in addition to the state application.

Cannabis sales in Oregon have dropped 8.5% since the state implemented stringent testing regulations Oct. 1.