If you are an Oregon medical marijuana dispensary operating without a license, or if you are a dispensary that isn't following the rules, expect to receive heavy fines and/or be shut down altogether. That's what happened to several medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon this past week. Admittedly, I don't have every dispensary licensed establishment memorized. However, there are lots of them that I drive past that I know don't have a license either by checking the Oregon Health Authority website, or by hearing it straight from the owner's mouth. I always point out to people that it's just a matter of time before those types of dispensaries are shutdown, which usually results in some harsh feedback from who I'm talking to.
I don't personally like dispensaries that try to operate outside of the rules. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get medical marijuana dispensaries legalize in Oregon, and every dispensary that tries to buck the rules puts the whole system in jeopardy by giving the industry a black eye. It's also not fair for people that are following the rules to have to try to compete on an uneven playing field against dispensaries that are essentially cheating the system. I don't like prohibition, and I don't like patients having a harder time finding their medicine, but when there is a legal, regulated system in place, I have no problem with enforcement cracking down on people that are operating outside of a very reasonable framework.
Per Oregon Live:
During an unannounced visit in May to Portland Compassionate Caregivers, state inspectors found 13 violations, including poor record keeping, failing to verify whether customers were valid Oregon medical marijuana cardholders and evidence of on-site cannabis consumption. The state subsequently ordered the dispensary to close.
A second Portland dispensary, Marijuana Dispensaries at 4612 N.E. Sandy Blvd., has been served with a proposed license revocation and civil penalties amounting to $29,500. Its operator could not be reached for comment Friday.
The state also has ordered the closure of nine dispensaries for operating without a license. Burns said the state's three inspectors scour web sites and publications that advertise dispensaries to track down establishments operating outside of the law.
Unlicensed establishments are subject to a $500 a day civil penalty. The state can impose a $500 fine for each violation at a licensed dispensary.
If you are a member of Oregon's emerging medical marijuana industry, take note of what happened last week. If you are trying to rely on the old argument that you are 'not a dispensary,' yet money walks in and marijuana walks out, it's only a matter of time before your legal reasoning backfires. If you are a patient in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, make sure that you are only supporting medical marijuana dispensaries that follow the rules.