It is legal to cultivate marijuana in Multnomah County. In 1998, Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 67, legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. In November 2014, Oregon voters also passed Ballot Measure 91 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Measure 91 passed by a vote of 71.38% in Multnomah County. The Oregon Adult and Medical Use of Cannabis Act merged the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (Measure 67) and Measure 91. The Adult and Medical Use of Cannabis Act provides for the growing of marijuana in the state for medical and recreational purposes. The law permits adults aged 21 years and above to grow up to four marijuana plants in their residences without obtaining licenses.
Per the Adult and Medical Use Act, an individual interested in cultivating marijuana as a business must obtain one of the four marijuana production licenses. The production licenses are:
Cannabis cultivation businesses must be registered with Multnomah County before the state can issue a production license. An applicant for county registration must submit the Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) for approval as contained in the Multnomah County Marijuana Business Code. The following conditions must be fulfilled for the county to approve an applicant's LUCS:
Portland, the largest city in the county and the state, permits the cultivation of marijuana. Chapter 14B.130 of the Portland City Code legalized recreational marijuana in the city. The city code limits the cultivation of marijuana within the city to only indoor cultivation.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Multnomah County per Oregon’s Adult and Medical Use of Cannabis Act. Persons interested in establishing a cannabis manufacturing business in the county must apply for the Marijuana Processing License from the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC). The prospective marijuana manufacturing business must comply with the same conditions as a marijuana production business and must be located in the right zone.
Registered retailers can sell cannabis in the county. The Multnomah County Marijuana Business Code allows retailers to sell marijuana to persons aged 21 years and above or medical marijuana cardholders. All types of cannabis products, including marijuana edibles, are approved for sale in the county. However, cannabis retailers cannot locate their businesses in an exclusive residential zone within the county. Retailers are required to comply with all public health and safety standards.
Retailers can deliver marijuana and marijuana products to residential addresses within the county or adjacent counties. Medical marijuana cardholders can also have cannabis delivered to them within the county.
Portland City issues a separate license for exclusive cannabis delivery. A Marijuana Retail Courier license permits the licensee to operate an offsite delivery of marijuana to consumers within the city. However, the licensee is prohibited from having a retailing outlet at a fixed location.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, under the Oregon Health Authority, issues medical marijuana cards in the state. An applicant for a medical marijuana card must be diagnosed with a medical condition outlined in the Adult and Medical Use of Cannabis Act, and the applicant must be recommended by an “attending provider” for medical marijuana treatment. An attending provider is any of the following:
The qualifying medical conditions for marijuana treatment include:
Applicants can apply for the medical marijuana card online or via mail. To apply online, an applicant must create an account on the OMMP portal. They must submit the following on the portal:
Those applying online can print 30-day receipts after applying. The 30-day receipt has similar privileges as the Medical Marijuana card. Applicants applying by mail must send the listed items to:
Oregon Health Authority - Oregon Medical Marijuana Program
P O Box 14450
Portland, OR 97293-0450
The OMMP will mail medical marijuana cards to successful applicants. If all application requirements are not met, the OMMP will send a letter to the applicant indicating that their application is incomplete and requesting the items needed to complete the application. The applicant has 14 days from the date of the letter to submit the requested items or the application will be rejected.
Multnomah County’s yearly financial reports do not reflect the economic impact of the legalization of marijuana in the county. The county did not indicate revenue gotten from marijuana in the financial reports.
The City of Portland’s financial reports show that recreational marijuana added $402,521 to the city’s revenue in 2017. In 2018, recreational marijuana revenue increased to $3,872,514. In 2019, income from recreational cannabis was $3,982,452. In 2020, the cannabis licensing program added 1,540,915 to the city’s finances, and the recreational cannabis tax added $4,060,290. In 2021, recreational cannabis tax was $7,896,954 and the cannabis licensing program was $1,811,073.
The recreational marijuana law was enacted in 2016, and it became effective on January 1, 2017. The crime data supplied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office showed six marijuana possession arrests and no marijuana sales arrests in 2016. In 2017, there were 11 marijuana possession arrests and one sales arrest. The number of marijuana possession arrests in 2018 dropped to two, and no one was arrested for selling marijuana. In 2019, there was neither marijuana possession nor sales arrests. In 2020, there was one marijuana sales arrest and no marijuana possession arrest. The data showed that marijuana possession and sales arrests have been declining since the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The data submitted by the Oregon State Police for Multnomah County indicates six marijuana possession arrests and no marijuana sales arrests in 2016. In 2017, there were 18 marijuana possession arrests and no marijuana sales arrests. In 2018, there were seven marijuana possession arrests and no marijuana sales arrests. In 2019, there were eight marijuana possession arrests and one marijuana sales arrest. In 2020, there were two marijuana possession arrests and no marijuana sales arrest. The data showed that there had been no difference in the rates of marijuana possession and sales arrests by the state police since the enactment of the marijuana recreational act.
The Driving Under the Influence (DUI) data provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office showed 211 DUI arrests in 2016 before the recreational marijuana law became effective. In 2017, there were 166 arrests. In 2018, there were 175 arrests. In 2019, there were 176 arrests, and in 2020, there were 105 DUI arrests. The Oregon state police’s DUI report for Multnomah County submitted to the FBI showed 42 DUI arrests in 2016. In 2017, there were 63 DUI arrests. In 2018, there were 74 DUI arrests and 44 DUI arrests in 2019. In 2020, there were 36 DUI arrests. The DUI records from Multnomah County Sheriff’s office show that there has been a 50% decline in the DUI arrests from 2016 (211) to 2020 (105). The Oregon State Police’s records reveal that the number of DUI arrests increased till 2018 and declined in the two subsequent years.
In conclusion, based on the marijuana-related arrest figures from 2016 to 2020, the legalization of recreational cannabis has reduced the number of marijuana possession and sales arrests in the County. There has also been a decline in the DUI arrests made by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.