Washington County Cannabis Overview

  1. Oregon Cannabis
  2. Washington County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Washington County?

Yes. Washington County follows Oregon’s laws on cannabis or marijuana. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) oversees the regulation of alcoholic beverages and recreational marijuana in the entire state. Meanwhile, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is the primary agency responsible for monitoring medical marijuana. Although the OLCC regulates most of the marijuana market in the state, local governments are permitted to enact reasonable rules on the day, location, and method of marijuana cultivation.

A marijuana plant canopy is required to cultivate marijuana, whether the location is indoor or outdoor. Cultivation may be done as long as it is approved and licensed by the OLCC. In Washington County, land use regulations are implemented for entities involved in the marijuana business in accordance with Oregon’s cannabis regulation. These include a land use application for retail business facilities, land use reviews for wholesalers, and the submission of a land use compatibility statement. Chapter 475C, however, exempts certain applicants from the requirement to acquire a land use compatibility statement. If produced outdoors, a canopy with a size of 5,000 square feet or less will not require a land use compatibility statement. On the other hand, an indoor canopy with a size of 1,250 square feet or less is also exempted.

Following the provisions under Measure 91, cultivators of marijuana must be at least 21 years old, and the plants should not be readily seen in any public area. Furthermore, home cultivation is limited to four plants regardless of the number of residents in the household. Violation of Measure 91 will result in penalties, imprisonment, and a fine.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Washington County?

Yes. The production and processing of medical and recreational marijuana products have been allowed in Washington County as Measure 91 took into effect. The OLCC grants several licenses to qualified establishments. It can be a producer, processor, wholesaler, laboratory, retailer, or research certificate. As a licensed producer, you are allowed to plant, cultivate, grow, harvest, and dry marijuana. As a licensed processor, you are permitted to process, compound, or convert marijuana or hemp into cannabinoid products, concentrates, and/or extracts.

As of May 2022, there are 167 licensed marijuana businesses in Washington County, 95 of which are either recreational producers or processors. Meanwhile, the only city in Washington County that prohibits licensed marijuana businesses as of July 2022 is Sherwood.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) manages several programs that affect agricultural production and processing, including marijuana. In general, manufacturing marijuana products should comply with the same standards and food safety licenses set for traditional foods. In addition, the OLCC has set packaging and labeling requirements to ensure the safety of Oregon residents. In general, the following minimum requirements should be strictly followed:

  • Packages must safeguard the hemp and marijuana products they contain.
  • Package labels must comply with OAR 845-025-7000 through 845-025-7190.
  • Packages should not be visually-appealing to minors.
  • Packages should be child-resistant.

Section 430-80 of Washington County’s Community Development Code (CDC) regulates the marijuana businesses in the county. Indoor and outdoor marijuana production is only allowed if the provisions in Section 430-80.3 are met:

  • Setbacks from all property lines for outdoor production outside the UGB must be at least 50 feet.
  • A carbon filtration system must be installed in indoor marijuana production buildings to ensure that air exiting the structure first travels through an activated carbon filter.
  • An alternative odor control method is allowed as long as a report by an Oregon-licensed mechanical engineer is submitted stating that it meets the requirements for odor control.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Washington County?

Yes. A licensed cannabis retailer is allowed by OLCC to either sell and/or deliver marijuana products directly to customers. Licensed retailers may sell medical marijuana to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholders who are at least 18 years old. On the other hand, adults who are 21 years or older are legally allowed to purchase marijuana for recreational use. The OLCC sets the following daily limits:

  • Two ounces of usable marijuana for a recreational user
  • Eight ounces of usable marijuana in one day and up to 32 ounces in a month for OMMP cardholders or assigned caregivers
  • 16 ounces of solid marijuana product
  • 72 ounces of liquid marijuana product
  • Five grams of extracts or concentrates
  • Five grams of inhalational products
  • Four immature plants
  • Ten marijuana seeds

As of May 2022, Washington County has 43 active marijuana retail licenses. Section 430-80.2 of the county’s CDC limits a retail marijuana facility to either a medical marijuana dispensary or a retail recreational marijuana facility. These establishments are permitted to operate as long as the following requirements are met:

  • Complied with all state requirements.
  • Operating hours are only from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
  • The facility’s entrances and off-street parking spaces must be brightly illuminated and not physically obstruct the public's right of way.
  • The gross floor area of the establishment does not exceed 3,000 square feet.
  • It should be located at least 1,000 feet away from other retail facilities and at least 1,000 feet away from a Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District recreational facility.

These retail facilities are only allowed to operate in identified locations and to sell products such as flowers, pre-rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, topicals, CBD, and accessories to their customers.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Washington County?

Yes. An OLCC-licensed cannabis retailer may also deliver marijuana products. However, only recreational marijuana is allowed by the state to be delivered since deliveries by medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited by OHA. Of the 43 active marijuana retail licenses, 14 offer a delivery service. On the other hand, 20 dispensaries offer medical-grade marijuana that OMMP cardholders can directly purchase from the store. All marijuana transfers to or from a dispensary must be at the facility’s registered address.

Deliveries may only be done by representatives registered in the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) and are only allowed within the jurisdiction of the retailer’s license. According to the OLCC Retailer Home Delivery Guide, orders should be placed before 8:00 PM of the delivery date and may only be placed by the receiver. All orders should contain the receiver’s name and birthdate, delivery date, description and amount of the marijuana products, and a statement stating that the orders are for personal use only. During the delivery, the delivery person is responsible for checking that the recipient has an acceptable ID. The recipient’s signature will be collected upon completion of the transaction.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Washington County

The OMMP allows Oregon residents recommended by an attending provider with the following qualifying medical conditions to apply for a medical marijuana card:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • A degenerative or pervasive neurological condition
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • A medical condition or treatment that results in cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, and persistent muscle spasm

The requirements for the application include the OMMP application form and instructions, attending provider’s statement, grow site consent form, copies of valid ID, and fee payment. All forms and cardholder fees are available on the OHA website. Application may be made online at ommpsystem.oregon.gov. To apply via mail, all requirements must be sent at OHA/OMMP, P.O. Box 14450, Portland, OR 97293-0450.

After reviewing the application and confirming that all requirements are met, the medical marijuana ID card will be mailed to the patient or their designated caregiver. A separate grower card will be mailed to the designated grower, if applicable. For concerns and inquiries, OMMP Staff may be contacted from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Weekdays at 971-673-1234 or ommp.info@dhsoha.state.or.us.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Washington County?

Measure 91 puts a 17% excise tax on marijuana product sales in Oregon. Additionally, local governments are permitted to impose an additional 3% tax at a maximum. This tax revenue, after OLCC expenses are covered, will then be distributed as follows:

  • 40% for schools
  • 25% for substance abuse treatment and prevention services
  • 15% for Oregon State Police
  • 10% to cities and 10% to counties to help local law enforcement

Since regulated recreational marijuana use became legal in Oregon in 2016, more than 2,300 new registered marijuana companies and more than 58,000 related jobs have been established. In 2021, recent data indicates that around 375 recreational dispensary businesses in Oregon employed 4,200 people on a payroll. In the fourth quarter of 2020, there were roughly 4,500 employees in the larger category, which also covers wholesale commerce, with an average salary of $30,940. According to the state’s Employment Department, a new peak of $110.5 million in sales for recreational marijuana was seen in April 2021 - a 23.5% rise over April 2020’s $89.7 million.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Washington County

In 1973, the state of Oregon pioneered the decriminalization of the possession of medical marijuana in the United States. In 2014, its voters adopted Measure 91 or the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act. This act, which took effect on July 1, 2015, further expanded the decriminalization of marijuana by allowing adults to possess, cultivate, consume, and sell marijuana recreationally.

As reported by the FBI Crime Data Explorer, crime rates related to driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) and marijuana possession in Washington County fluctuated from 2017 to 2020, although marijuana sale offenses remain at zero. In 2017, data showed 66 crime rates related to DUI and three related to marijuana possession. A total of 61 crime rates associated with DUI and four pertaining to marijuana possession were reported in 2018. Arrests in 2019 related to DUI were 73 and ten connected to marijuana possession, while in 2020, there were about 50 DUI and four marijuana possession arrests.

However, analyzing the crime rates in the entire state may also be insightful. Wu, Li, & Lang reported the effects of the legalization of marijuana on the clearance rates for violent crimes. According to their 2022 study, results provide evidence that legalization positively affects clearance rates for violent crimes. This is evidenced by marked increases in the clearance rates for both general violent crimes and aggravated assault in Oregon counties relative to those in non-legalized states after legalization. The findings also show that the beneficial impact of legalization on violent crime clearance rates seems to diminish over time.

Washington County Cannabis