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Empowering Oregon cannabis to grow

GrowFlow is an all-in-one business management and compliance solution for cannabis wholesalers and retailers.

GrowFlow tracks all of your grow and retail activities and reports directly to OLCC via a METRC integration.

GrowFlow is also METRC certified in Oregon.

Trusted by over 1,300 cannabis cultivators, processors, distributors, and retailers

Average hours saved each week

4 million+

Processed through GrowFlow

Wonderful thank you so much Cory! You guys have been killing it with customer support lately and your team is much appreciated!! Thank you!

Chrystal, Oregon Customer

Oregon cannabis regulation history

Oregon has long been more accepting of cannabis use. Oregon was the first state in the country to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1973.

While legal adult-use of cannabis is still relatively new in Oregon, more Oregonians use cannabis than in any other U.S. state. 28.5% of Oregon adults reported using cannabis within the past 12 months from 2017–2018.

Medical use of cannabis has been legal in Oregon since 1998. 16 years later, Oregon residents voted to allow adult-use sales of cannabis.

Compliance in less clicks

GrowFlow is METRC certified in Oregon and integrates with the state system in order to reduce your reporting workload.

GrowFlow also reports directly to the OLCC via a METRC integration, so you can submit your activities to the state in a few clicks.

How to Open a Dispensary in Oregon

Oregon fully legalized marijuana in 2015 and recreational sales took off just two years later. If you’re wondering how to open a dispensary in Oregon or if now is the right time, then your friends at BLAZE have got you covered. Oregon offers tremendous opportunities for budding cannabis entrepreneurs. We’ll help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of opening a dispensary in Oregon and tell you everything you need to know to get started!

Obtaining a license to operate, finding a location, and investing in a powerful dispensary POS system are just a few steps you should take to open a dispensary in Oregon. In this article, we will go over:

  • Application and License Fees in Oregon
  • Day-to-day Business Operations
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Banking

Each city operates differently and there exist different regulations on how you can operate. If you’re wondering where to start, this is the perfect place. Read on to learn how to open a dispensary in Oregon.

Licensing

To open a dispensary in Oregon, you must first apply then pay the non-refundable application and licensing fees. Make sure you check the laws and regulations in your municipality as well. This will save your dispensary irreplaceable time and money. It also determines if your dispensary can fully operate in the city you’re applying to.

The application fee for an annual license costs $500 for marijuana retail stores (brick and mortar). Once granted a license, you’ll then pay an annual licensing fee depending on the type of business you are building. This licensing fee can range up to $4,000 for retailers. The fee fluctuates based on the type of business you want to establish. So if you want to open a cannabis microbusiness, the license fee is waived and the annual fee is cut in half. For indoor cultivators, the cost is broken down into tiers by the square foot. For a full breakdown check out the graph below.

License Type Application Fee License Fee Total Due
Retail Dispensary/Processor/Wholesaler $250 $4,750 $5,000
Recreational Producer $250 $1,000-$5,750 $1,250-6,000
Medical Dispensary/Processor $500 $3,500 $4,000

Location

Opening a dispensary in Oregon has some challenges. Real estate is crucial in having a successful dispensary, but it’s not always as easy as just picking a place. Not every landlord is comfortable renting out their space for a cannabis operation. Additionally, many states have strict regulations about where a dispensary can be located, such as proximity to schools (1,000 feet in Oregon), daycares, and other dispensaries. Some cities can also elect not to adopt ordinances that grant access to cannabis store-fronts, meaning cannabis delivery is only acceptable.

In Oregon, dispensary rent costs are about the same as the median commercial property rate at around $26 per square foot.

For this reason, rent in a city like Portland can cost your dispensary an annual range of $200,000 – $300,000 for a 2,000 square foot retail space. For a city like Salem, you could look to spend $150,000 – $200,000 per year on rent. On top of this, you need to consider the cost of things like renovations, furniture, hardware, security, and wages.

Business Operations

The cost of doing business in Oregon is constantly shifting and changing, but one thing is certain, it can be expensive. Costs such as wages, security, and a reliable dispensary POS system are considerable and consistent investments. Let’s get into the ongoing cost of operating a dispensary.

Wages

A well-trained and professional dispensary staff is indispensable. Depending on your size and market need, you need to estimate how many budtenders and staff you should hire. According to data from Salary.com, the average salary of a budtender in Portland is about 20 per hour. The average salary ranges from $37,000, but can go up as much as the high $40k’s. If your dispensary sets a budget at $260,000 for wages, this means you can reasonably afford up to 7 staff members at your dispensary.

Dispensary POS Software

Unique obstacles and opportunities in the cannabis industry require a point of sales (POS) system tailored for a dispensary. These cannabis POS systems should help manage your inventory, transactions, and compliance with your state. Since Oregon is such an active and growing market, a solid dispensary POS is an asset for new dispensaries.

Systems such as BLAZE offer a full suite of dispensary services. Features such as seed-to-sale software and cannabis distribution software add more value to your dispensary. Based in Los Angeles, BLAZE is a valuable software that understands the ins and outs of opening a dispensary in Oregon. With constantly updated software with real-time data, BLAZE lets retailers worry less about compliance and regulations and more about sales.

Depending on your dispensary needs, cannabis software can range from $300 – $600 a month, plus additional fees for hardware such as iPads, iPhones, and POS equipment.

Security

Cannabis dispensaries are at constant risk. Having professional and active security is a necessary investment to keep your dispensary safe from break-ins and robberies. Surveillance hardware such as cameras and monitors not only work to deter crime but maintain compliance. Each dispensary must employ a security agent or agency. Additionally, there must be a dedicated security room with security hardware such as security cameras and monitors. Other security measures include possessing high-resolution images; a perimeter and duress alarm; vaults, safes, and security boxes; and backup data for cameras and equipment.

Dispensary security in Oregon can cost around $60,000 annually.

For a complete breakdown of Oregon dispensary security laws, read more here.

Product

If you’re a cannabis retailer that is not vertically integrated, your dispensary will need to purchase wholesale cannabis products. Oregon has lush weather and is considered the heartland of marijuana growers in the United States.

According to data from MJBizDaily.com, the demand for marijuana in Oregon has increased exponentially. Those who want to open a dispensary in Massachusetts can look to pay the following prices for wholesale flower:

Indoor Premium Indoor Average
$2,400 per lb $1,500 per lb

These figures just show the average prices of bud per pound by some of Oregon cannabis cultivators. If you want to know how to open a dispensary in Oregon while getting the best wholesale deals that fit your budget, the most effective thing you can do is network. Get with local groups, such as The Chamber of Commerce, and find growers that fit your needs, values, and brand.

Marketing and Promotion

Although cannabis marketing can be just as effective as in any other industry, there are still some challenges. Platforms such as Google and Facebook don’t allow for cannabis advertising. And in states where recreational cannabis is legal, there are strict regulations on how dispensaries can promote themselves. However, this is hardly an obstacle and should push you to try more creative channels to market your brand. A good rule of thumb is to dedicate 3-5% of your yearly gross revenue to marketing, advertising, and promotion.

In Massachusetts, licensees must abide by the following advertising regulations:

  • Advertising through television, internet, and radio, unless 85% of the subject’s audience or presumed to be 21 years or older.
  • No advertising on billboards or public signage.
  • Labeling of marijuana products not sold as marijuana products.

For a full list of Oregon cannabis marketing regulations, click here.

To determine an accurate marketing budget, check out the Licensing table and deduce 3-5% of your yearly gross revenue. This number is what you should spend on marketing your dispensary.

Banking

Before you open a dispensary in Oregon, you must secure safe and legal banking. Because it’s not yet legal on the federal level, many banks tend to shy away from doing business with a dispensary. This is why some dispensaries are cash only or do business with local credit unions.

There are around fifty to sixty banks that do business with cannabis dispensaries. When working to open a dispensary in Oregon, it is important to do your research on what bank or credit union fits your needs and how they are specifically suited to grow your dispensary.

Conclusion

Opening up a dispensary is tedious, but worth it. The cannabis industry is growing rapidly and cannabis use is on the rise in every adult demographic. That’s why now is the perfect time to open a dispensary.

Dispensaries that use BLAZE cannabis POS software have a major advantage. Our seed-to-sale software enables vertical integration that can elevate your dispensary to new heights. BLAZE retail software takes the worry out of inventory management and reporting. And powerful integrations make sure you’re covered on all fronts – from cultivation to compliance, and even delivery. Book a demo with BLAZE today if you’d like to open a dispensary in the simplest way possible.

OREGON CANNABIS BUSINESS SECURITY
KNOWLEDGE CENTER

Please note; while we aim to keep this pages fully up to date with the latest information, cannabis laws are always changing. We encourage you to verify these rules and regulations in the official legal text, which we’ve linked throughout the page for your convenience.

Oregon Cannabis Business Security Requirements

*Please note that this section encompasses only the compliance requirements relevant to business security. Many parts of the rules and regulation shave been removed to focus exclusively on the security compliance aspects. To view the full set of rules and regulations for Oregon, click here!

Oregon Business Security Requirements for Cannabis Licensees

You can view the program webpage here.

Recreational

845-025-1175
Changing, Altering, or Modifying Licensed Premises

  • (5) If the Commission approves the change, the Commission may require a site inspection of the changed area and a modification of the licensee’s security plan prior to the licensee exercising any license privileges.
  • (6) For purposes of this rule a material or substantial change requiring approval includes, but is not limited to:
    • (c) Any physical change that would require the installation of additional video surveillance cameras or a change in the security system;

    845-025-1400
    Security Plans

    • (1) An applicant must have a security plan. The Commission will not conduct any prelicensing inspection under OAR 845-025-1090(3) until it has approved an applicant’s security plan.
    • (2) The Commission must notify an applicant in writing whether the security plan has been approved. If the security plan is approved with a waiver granted under OAR 845- 025-1405, the notice must specifically describe the alternate safeguards that are required and, if time limited, must state the time period the security plan is in effect.
    • (3) A licensee must notify the Commission of any proposed changes to a security plan and must have approval prior to implementing any change. The Commission will notify a licensee whether the change is approved in the same manner described in subsection (2) of this rule.
    • (4) The Commission may withdraw approval of the security plan at any time if there have been one or more documented instances of theft or loss of marijuana items on the licensed premises within the past year. If the Commission withdraws its approval of the security plan, the licensee will be given a reasonable period of time to modify the plan and if the security plan was approved with a waiver of any security requirements, will be given a reasonable period of time to come into compliance with the security requirements that were waived.
    • (5) Failure to comply with the terms of an approved security plan is a Category III violation.

    845-025-1405
    Security Waivers

    • (1) An applicant or licensee may, in writing, request that the Commission waive one or more of the security requirements described in OAR 845-025-1400 to 845-025-1470 by submitting a security waiver request for Commission approval. The waiver request must include:
      • (a) The specific rules and subsections of a rule that is requested to be waived;
      • (b) The reason for the waiver;
      • (c) A description of an alternative safeguard the licensee can put in place in lieu of the requirement that is the subject of the waiver; and
      • (d) An explanation of how and why the alternative safeguard accomplishes the goals of the security rules, specifically public safety, prevention of diversion, accountability, and prohibiting access to minors.

      845-025-1410
      Security Requirements

      • (1) A licensee is responsible for the security of all marijuana items on the licensed premises or in transit, including providing adequate safeguards against theft or diversion of marijuana items and records that are required to be kept.
      • (2) The licensee must ensure that commercial grade, non-residential door locks are installed on every external door, and gate if applicable, of a licensed premises where marijuana items are present.
      • (3) During all hours when the licensee is not operating a licensee must ensure that:
        • (a) All points of ingress and egress from a licensed premises are securely locked and any keys or key codes to the enclosed area remain in the possession of the licensee, licensee representative, or authorized personnel; Effective May 1, 2017 Page 28 of 94
        • (b) All marijuana items on a licensed retailer’s premises are kept in a safe or vault as those terms are defined in OAR 845-025-1015; and
        • (c) All usable marijuana, cut and drying mature marijuana plants, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts or products on the licensed premises of a licensee other than a retailer are kept in a locked, enclosed area within the licensed premises that is secured with at a minimum, a properly installed steel door with a steel frame, and a commercial grade, non-residential door lock.
        • (a) Have an electronic back-up system for all electronic records; and
        • (b) Keep all video recordings and archived required records not stored electronically in a locked storage area. Current records may be kept in a locked cupboard or desk outside the locked storage area during hours when the licensed business is open.

        845-025-1420
        Alarm System

        • (1) A licensed premises must have a fully operational security alarm system, activated at all times when the licensed premises is closed for business.
        • (2) The security alarm system for the licensed premises must:
          • (a) Be able to detect unauthorized entry onto the licensed premises and unauthorized activity within any limited access area where mature marijuana plants, usable marijuana, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts or products are present;
          • (b) Be programmed to notify a the licensee, licensee representative or authorized personnel in the event of an unauthorized entry; and
          • (c) Have a mechanism to ensure that the licensee, licensee’s employees and authorized representatives can immediately notify law enforcement or a security company of any unauthorized entry. This subsection may be satisfied in one of the following ways:
            • (A) Having at least two operational “panic buttons” located inside the licensed premises that are linked with the alarm system that immediately notifies a security company or law enforcement; or
            • (B) Having operational “panic buttons” physically carried by all licensee representatives present on the licensed premises that are linked with the alarm system that immediately notifies a security company or law enforcement; or
            • (C) Having a landline telephone present in all limited access areas that is capable of immediately calling a security company or law enforcement.

            845-025-1430
            Video Surveillance Equipment

            • (1) A licensed premises must have a fully operational video surveillance recording system.
            • (2) Video surveillance equipment must, at a minimum:
              • (a) Consist of:
                • (A) Digital or network video recorders;
                • (B) Cameras capable of meeting the requirements of OAR 845-025-1450 and this rule;
                • (C) Video monitors;
                • (D) Digital archiving devices;
                • (E) A minimum of one monitor on premise capable of viewing video; and
                • (F) A printer capable of producing still photos.

                845-025-1440
                Required Camera Coverage and Camera Placement

                • (1) A licensed premises must have camera coverage, as applicable, for:
                  • (a) All points of ingress and egress to and from the licensed premises;
                  • (b) All limited access areas as that term is defined in OAR 845-025-1015;
                  • (c) All consumer sales areas;
                  • (d) All points of entry to or exit from limited access areas;
                  • (e) The surveillance room or surveillance area as defined in OAR 845-025-1460(1)(a) and (b); and
                  • (f) Any other area that the Commission believes presents a public safety risk based on the overall operation and characteristics of the licensed premises.
                  • (a) Within 15 feet both inside and outside of all points of ingress and egress to and from the licensed premises; and
                  • (b) In all locations within limited access, and consumer sales areas on the licensed premises.

                  845-025-1450
                  Video Recording Requirements for Licensed Facilities

                  • (1) A licensee must have cameras that continuously record, 24 hours a day:
                    • (a) In all areas where mature marijuana plants, immature marijuana plants, usable marijuana, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts or products may be present on the licensed premises; and
                    • (b) All points of ingress and egress to and from areas where mature marijuana plants, immature marijuana plants, usable marijuana, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts or products are present.
                    • (a) In limited access and consumer sales areas, use cameras that record at a minimum resolution of 1280 x 720 px and record at 10 fps (frames per second);
                    • (b) In exterior perimeter and areas on the licensed premises that are not limited access areas, use cameras that record at a minimum resolution of 1280 x 720 px and record at least 5 fps, except where coverage overlaps any limited access areas such as entrances or exits and in those overlap areas cameras must record at 10 fps;
                    • (c) Use cameras that are capable of recording in all lighting conditions;
                    • (d) Keep surveillance recordings, except for off-site backup recordings described in (2)(l) of this rule, for a minimum of:
                      • (A) 90 calendar days for licenses issued or renewed after August 31, 2016; and
                      • (B) 30 calendar days for licenses issued prior to August 31, 2016.

                      845-025-1460
                      Location and Maintenance of Surveillance Equipment

                      • (1) A licensee must:
                        • (a) Have the surveillance room or surveillance area in a limited access area; and
                        • (b) Have the surveillance recording equipment housed in a designated, locked, and secured room or other enclosure with access limited to:
                          • (A) The licensee, licensee representatives, and authorized personnel
                          • (B) Employees of the Commission;
                          • (C) State or local law enforcement agencies for a purpose authorized under ORS Chapter 475B, these rules, or for any other state or local law enforcement purpose; and
                          • (D) Service personnel or contractors.

                          845-025-1470
                          Producer Security Requirements

                          • (1) A producer must effectively prevent public access to all areas of the licensed premises used in the production of marijuana. In addition to the security requirements in OAR 845-025-1400 to 845-025-1460, a producer’s approved security plan as described in OAR 845-025-1400 must include a method to prevent public access to all areas of the licensed premises used in the production of marijuana.
                          • (2) If a producer chooses to dispose of marijuana items by any method of composting, as described in OAR 845-025-7750, the producer must prevent public access to the composting area.

                          845-025-1600
                          State and Local Safety Inspections

                          • (1) All marijuana licensees may be subject to inspection of licensed premises by state or local government officials to determine compliance with state or local health and safety laws.
                          • (2) A licensee must contact any utility provider to ensure that the licensee complies with any local ordinance or utility requirements such as water use, discharge into the sewer system, or electrical use.
                          Medical

                          333-008-2080
                          General Requirements for Medical Marijuana Processing Sites and Dispensaries: Security Requirements
                          In order to be registered and remain registered a registrant must:

                          • (1) Have an installed and fully operational security alarm system, installed by an alarm installation company, activated at all times when the premises is closed for business on all:
                            • (a) Entry or exit points to and from the premises; and
                            • (b) Perimeter windows, if applicable.
                            • (2) Have a security alarm system that:
                              • (a) Detects movement inside the premises;
                              • (b) Is programmed to notify a security company that will notify a registrant representative or his or her designee in the event of a breach; and
                              • (c) Has at least two operational “panic buttons” located inside the premises that are linked with the alarm system that notifies a security company.
                              • (3) Have commercial grade, non-residential door locks installed on every external door of a registered premises where marijuana items are present.
                              • (4) During all hours when the registrant is not operating:
                                • (a) Securely lock all entrances to and exits from the registered premises and ensure any keys or key codes to the enclosed area remain in the possession of the registrant or registrant representative;
                                • (b) Have a safe or vault as those terms are defined in OAR 333-008-0010 for the purpose of securing all marijuana items as required by these rules, except that a registered processing site may keep all usable marijuana, cut and drying mature marijuana plants, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts or products on the premises in a secure area.
                                • (5) Have a password protected network infrastructure.
                                • (6) Have an electronic back-up system for all electronic records.
                                • (7) Keep all video recordings and archived required records not stored electronically in a locked storage area. Current records may be kept in a locked cupboard or desk outside the locked storage area during hours when the registered business is open.
                                • (8) Notwithstanding OAR 333-008-2090 to 333-008-2120 a registered processing site and registered dispensary under common ownership that share a premises are not required to install redundant security systems if the premises are directly accessible to each other by an adjoining door. If a shared security system is utilized:
                                  • (a) Any point of common ingress and egress between the premises shall be treated as an external door, for purposes of this rule, and must have security coverage in accordance with sections (1) and (3) of this rule; and
                                  • (b) The registrants must maintain the system and provide access to the Authority in accordance with these rules.

                                  333-008-2090
                                  General Requirements for Medical Marijuana Processing Sites and Dispensaries: Video Surveillance Equipment
                                  In order to be registered and remain registered a registrant must:

                                  • (1) Have an installed and fully operational video surveillance recording system with video surveillance equipment that at a minimum:
                                    • (a) Consists of:
                                      • (A) Digital or network video recorders;
                                      • (B) Cameras capable of meeting the requirements of OAR 333-008-2110 and this rule;
                                      • (C) Video monitors;
                                      • (D) Digital archiving devices;
                                      • (E) A minimum of one monitor on premises capable of viewing video; and
                                      • (F) A color printer capable of producing still photos.
                                      • (2) Have a video surveillance system capable of recording all pre-determined surveillance areas in any lighting conditions.
                                      • (3) Have, in limited access and point of sale areas, cameras that have minimum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (px) and record at 10 fps (frames per second).
                                      • (4) Have, in exterior perimeter and non-limited access areas (except for restrooms) cameras that have a minimum resolution of 1280 x 720 px and record at least 5 fps, except where coverage overlaps any limited access areas such as entrances or exits and in those overlap areas cameras must record at 10 fps.

                                      General Requirements for Medical Marijuana Processing Sites and Dispensaries: Required Camera Coverage and Camera Placement
                                      In order to be registered and remain registered a registrant must:

                                      • (1) Have security camera coverage for:
                                        • (a) All secure and limited access areas;
                                        • (b) All areas where marijuana items will be and are transferred to or from a registered premises;
                                        • (c) All areas where the general public is permitted (except for restrooms);
                                        • (d) All points of entry to and exit from limited access areas and areas where marijuana items will be and are transferred to or from a registered premises; and
                                        • (e) All points of entry to and exit from the premises.
                                        • (2) Have cameras that are positioned so that they capture clear and certain images of any individual and activity occurring:
                                          • (a) Within 15 feet both inside and outside of all points of entry to and exit from the premises;
                                          • (b) Anywhere within a secure or limited access area on the premises; and
                                          • (c) Anywhere within an area where marijuana items will be and are transferred to or from a registered premises.

                                          General Requirements for Medical Marijuana Processing Sites and Dispensaries: Video Recording Requirements

                                          • (1) In order to be registered and remain registered a registrant must:
                                            • (a) Have cameras that are installed, operational, and continuously record 24 hours a day in all areas where marijuana items will be or are on the premises, including areas where the general public is permitted (except restrooms).
                                            • (b) Use cameras that record at a minimum resolution of 1280 x 720 px;
                                            • (c) Have an installed and operational surveillance system that:
                                              • (A) Can produce a color still photograph from any camera image; and
                                              • (B) Embeds the date and time on all surveillance recordings without significantly obscuring the picture;
                                              • (2) A registrant must:
                                                • (a) Keep all surveillance recordings a minimum of 45 calendar days and in a format that can be easily accessed for viewing;
                                                • (b) Archive video recordings in a format that ensures authentication of the recording as a legitimately-captured video and guarantees that no alterations of the recorded image has taken place;
                                                • (c) Provide video surveillance records and recordings immediately upon request to the Authority for the purpose of ensuring compliance with ORS 475B.858 and these rules;
                                                • (d) Keep surveillance recordings for periods exceeding 45 calendar days upon request of the Authority; and
                                                • (e) Immediately notify the Authority of any equipment failure or system outage lasting 30 minutes or more.

                                                General Requirements for Medical Marijuana Processing Sites and Dispensaries Location and Maintenance of Surveillance Equipment

                                                • (1) A registrant must:
                                                  • (a) Have the surveillance recording equipment housed in a designated secure area or other locked enclosure with access limited to:
                                                    • (A) The registrant and authorized personnel of the registrant;
                                                    • (B) Employees of the Authority;
                                                    • (C) State or local law enforcement agencies for any other state or local law enforcement purpose; and
                                                    • (D) Service personnel or contractors.

                                                    General Requirements for Medical Marijuana Processing Sites and Dispensaries: State and Local Safety Inspections