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Dear Pot Lawyer,

I try to buy groceries from local sources. How can I make sure my pot is local too?

All pot for sale in your neighborhood dispensary is local, in the sense that it was grown right here in Oregon. But if you are asking how to support homegrown dispensaries, processors, and growers, it can seem like an impossible task. Few consumers will want to dig through state records to determine the actual owners and investors of a particular brand or business, if that information is even available.

This wasn’t really an issue until early last year. As originally conceived, Oregon’s recreational cannabis regulations required that each pot business be controlled by an Oregon resident, and be at least 51 percent Oregon owned. These residency restrictions were eliminated, for both recreational and medicinal businesses, in March 2016. Since then, there has been no reliable way for consumers to know whether they are supporting homegrown businesses.

A new trade organization is looking to change that. On May 12, at the Cultivation Classic 2017, a group of local business leaders launched the Craft Cannabis Alliance with the goal of establishing and developing a unique craft cannabis industry that will support and be supported by Oregonians. In addition to offering local ownership and control certifications, the members of the Alliance will dedicate themselves to clean products, sustainability, ethical business practices, local engagement, and an active role in ending pot prohibition on a national scale. In the interest of full disclosure, your Portland Mercury Pot Lawyers are proud to be founding members of the Alliance.

Alliance Executive Director Adam Smith explains why the buy-local movement is so important to these business leaders: “Right now, we’re seeing some very large out-of-state and international companies buying up Oregon brands, and using their tremendous resources to muscle local producers out of shelf space. If those foreign companies are dominating the Oregon market when the walls come down in a few years, Oregon will have a multi-billion-dollar export industry, but we won’t actually own it. We’ll simply be a production center, with lots of low-wage employees here, building wealth, communities, and institutions elsewhere.”

In other words, the Alliance members predict that the inevitable end to federal prohibition and the accompanying lifting of restrictions on interstate exports of Oregon pot have the potential to generate incredible wealth for Oregon communities. Recognizing Oregon’s leading role in developing the craft beer industry, these leaders want to use a similar model to ensure that this wealth will remain within Oregon.


Got a question? Email us at potlawyer@portlandmercury.com. And remember that if you have a legal problem, contact a lawyer! Our educational musings cannot be relied upon as specific legal advice.