Oregon merchants and consumers, rejoice! There is a chance that retail marijuana sales may start early – in fact, one year early. While there was a 15 month hold for retailers, the state may waive the hold, and sales may start as early as October 2015. This isn’t far away, and if you are a merchant, this is great news.
However, there is first the issue of who can sell legalized marijuana in Oregon. If signed by Gov. Kate Brown, the bill, SB 460, would allow licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon to sell limited amounts of marijuana to customers that are over the age of 21 as soon as October 1, 2015. The bill that legalized recreational marijuana, Measure 91, stated that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would not start accepting commercial retail license applications until January 4, 2016. This is a big difference, but regardless of what type of legalized marijuana merchant you want to be, you need to begin the steps to legally sell the product.
While obtaining licenses and permits of the state and local level is imperative to a good start, you also need to be sure that you thoroughly check out all of your employees. In fact, check them out before they are employees. While asking questions during an interview sometimes heed the answers you need, you need to do background checks. Yes, this is costly, but thankfully there are websites you can go to do a free preliminary search to check out your employees. I’m not talking about Facebook, but rather local court websites. Most have an online docket where you can look up a person and their criminal (or civil) history for free.
You also need to make sure that you have a reliable marijuana payment processor, as well. This can be hard to find, since the state-legal industry is still federally illegal. There are few that exist that focus solely on the legalized marijuana – medical and retail – market, and you need to be sure that whomever you choose is right for your business. Be sure to do your research, as a marijuana payment processor is one of the most important investments you will make.
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