Ray Terrill

Portland Officials May Dial Back Cannabis Regulations

The City Council of Portland, Oregon may soon admit that it wrapped legal cannabis businesses in too much red tape, according to a Willamette Week report released this morning.

The council adopted its strict regulatory structure last year. At the time, Mayor Charlie Hales — who championed the move — said, “I want us to assert our ability to be a local regulator … and then, over time, tune those regulations.”

Now, however, it appears that a majority of Portland City Council members believe that the regulations have perhaps gone too far.

“We shouldn’t perpetuate fees and regulations simply to maintain a regulatory structure if the regulatory structure is unnecessary,” says Commissioner Steve Novick.

In her article, Willamette Week reporter Beth Slovic identifies five consistent complaints heard from the owners of cannabis companies throughout Portland:

  • that small cannabis businesses face too many fees;
  • that cannabis companies are singled out with requirements that don’t apply to other types of businesses;
  • that the city often implements fees and restrictions for cannabis companies that duplicate those established at the state level;
  • that the agency involved of cannabis regulations, the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, is unqualified for its responsibility;
  • and that Portland unnecessarily prohibits certain activities that state regulators chose to allow, such as cannabis delivery services.

The City Council will discuss dialing back some of the regulations later this fall.

In the meantime, however, struggling cannabis business owners like Paul Pedreira, owner of Portland Best Buds in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, are stuck in an ongoing struggle against regulatory overreach. “It feels like they’re trying to thin out small businesses by making it harder and more expensive to operate,” Pedreira said.

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