Public Service Announcement: All marijuana businesses located in the City of Portland must obtain a City Marijuana Regulatory License (“City License”)
There has been so much buzz about the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC) licensing process that many have overlooked the City of Portland’s licensing process. However, if you are located within the City limits, you will need both licenses to operate. Here are some steps you should take if you think you might be affected.
1. Check to see that you are located within the City’s limits. A map showing the City’s limits is available here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/51672.
2. Consider whether you are an affected business. All marijuana businesses must obtain a City License. This includes medical dispensaries licensed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). It also includes retailers, wholesalers, producers and processors who will be licensed by the OLCC.
3. Learn about the City’s requirements for obtaining a City License. We want to highlight a few key points:
- A City License will not be granted to any medical dispensary or OLCC-licensed retailer that is within 1,000 feet of another medical dispensary or OLCC-licensed retailer.
- The City’s license application review process will consider whether or not your proposed business is allowable under the City’s zoning code. You can do a preliminary review yourself by verifying your zoning code and reviewing the allowable uses in that zoning code. For more information you should consult a land use attorney.
- Medical dispensaries must waive confidentiality with the OHA to apply for a City License.
- Medical dispensaries and OLCC-licensed retailer applicants must pay a $975 application fee, and all other applicants must pay a $500 application fee. This fee is non-refundable.
- Once licensed, OLCC-licensed retailers must pay a $4,175 licensing fee, and all other licensees must pay a $2,000 licensing fee.
- A City License is valid for a period of one year and must be renewed annually.
The portion of the City’s code that addresses this licensing procedure, chapter 14B.130, is available here: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=69071. Please note that this version of the chapter does not yet reflect recently adopted amendments. To locate those amendments you should visit the City’s Pending Code Changes website: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=26653&a=23682.
4. Know if you qualify as a “grandfathered” dispensary. Grandfathered dispensaries are those dispensaries that meet either of the following criteria:
- They (1) have been registered, operating and in good standing with the OHA since on or before July 1, 2015, (2) had a valid City of Portland Business License (i.e., tax registration) on or before July 1, 2015, (3) have no outstanding compliance issues pending with the OHA, (4) have not applied for or obtained another license to be a retailer within 1,000 feet of its proposed location, and (5) meet all other requirements in P.C.C. 14B.130.
- They (1) have been registered and in good standing with the OHA since on or before September 30, 2015, (2) can demonstrate that they have incurred significant financial obligations prior to that date, using proof of a lease, hired employees, or investment in fixtures, (3) had a valid City of Portland Business License (i.e., tax registration) on or before September 30, 2015, (4) have no outstanding compliance issues pending with the OHA, (5) have not applied for or obtained another license to be a retailer within 1,000 feet of its proposed location, and (6) meet all other requirements in P.C.C. 14B.130.
5. Be prepared to apply. The City will begin scheduling meetings to accept applications on December 1st. “Grandfathered” medical dispensaries can log on to the City’s website today to request a meeting. Applicants seeking licensure as OLCC-licensed wholesalers, producers and processors can sign up for an intake meeting next Monday, November 23rd. Dispensaries and retailers that do not qualify as “grandfathered” dispensaries must also wait until next Monday, November 23rd, to sign up for an intake meeting; these businesses will be entered into a pool that closes on December 11th, and intake meetings will then be assigned to those in the pool on a random basis. Dispensaries and retailers that do not qualify as “grandfathered” dispensaries are subject to this drawing process because they are subject to the city’s 1,000 foot buffer, as mentioned above.
Log on to the City’s Marijuana Policy Program website for more information about the City’s application procedures, and to request a licensing meeting with the City’s staff: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ONI/67575
You can also call the City’s hotline, at (503) 823-WEED (9333) with any questions.