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2022 Cannabis Policy Report

A pair of hands planting a cannabis plant in soil.

Read 2022 Cannabis Policy Report 

About Annual Cannabis Policy Report

The Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) is excited to share the 2022 Annual Cannabis Policy Report with the Office of Community & Civic Life and communities served by the City of Portland. Last year, several recommendations were presented that, if enacted, would lead to a more equitable and sustainable industry. CPOT is pleased to note that many of the comprehensive and needed recommendations outlined in our 2021 annual report are in some state of enactment. CPOT applauds the efforts of Portland City Council to enact these recommendations. Our 2023 goals and recommendations are centered on furthering research around the cannabis industry, sustainability practices, and racial disparities and inequities within the industry.

In 2018, Portland City Council approved the license fee-reduction program, which allows reductions to the annual Marijuana Regulatory License fees. A business can be approved for the license fee reduction program by meeting one or all of the following criteria; total annual income of $750,000 the previous year with no more than three licenses in the State, at least 25% of owners and 20% of staff with prior cannabis convictions, and those that are contracting goods and services with vendors on the Minority-owned, Woman-owned, and Emerging Small Business (MWESB) list.

The City is looking to further expand this fee-reduction program in order to create a more environmentally sustainable cannabis industry. This recommendation is currently underway, with a fee study being conducted in Q1 of 2023 to determine the level of reduction the program can offer eligible cannabis businesses.

Another exciting development, on Nov. 21, 2022, Governor Kate Brown pardoned state-level convictions of cannabis possession of one (1) ounce or less. The estimated number of people impacted by Gov. Brown’s marijuana pardon is approximately 45,000 individuals. The exact number of people affected is unclear because an individual may have had several convictions pardoned through this process. Gov. Brown’s pardon order also forgives approximately $14 million in unpaid court fines and fees associated only with the pardoned convictions. This expungement effort eliminates systemically discriminatory non-violent cannabis criminal records to create a more equitable and just Oregon. These expungement efforts are in direct correlation to prior recommendations to develop a City-wide expungement program.

The Portland City Council also approved to pilot and adopt a cannabis competency educational module that provides the history of cannabis prohibition, introduces basic cannabis science, and reviews Oregon Measures 91, 67, and 110. $30,000 was set aside from the cannabis licensing fund to support the rollout of this education module, and we expect the development of this competency pilot to begin in FY 2023-24.

CPOT recommended and the council approved the drafting and funding of an economic viability forecast of the City of Portland’s current cannabis ecosystem. This forecast will examine Oregon’s cannabis market, including sales, prices, and consumption, and will be used to inform changes to cannabis policy. The council has set aside $50,000 from the cannabis licensing fund for this project, and it is expected to roll out in Q3 of 2023. The details of the economic viability study will help the City’s Cannabis Program properly study and develop tools and information to drive positive impacts for the cannabis industry in Portland.

Looking ahead, we are dedicated to economic and social equity within the city’s cannabis community. CPOT has several goals for the upcoming year and has made recommendations to ensure the outcome of these goals. As we move into 2023, CPOT will continue to advocate for sustainability, safety, and equity within the Portland cannabis community. We are invested in the ongoing success of this industry and believe that the recommendations posed in this report will have a positive impact on the cannabis ecosystem. Shaping future cannabis policies involves a collaborative effort between policymakers, industry stakeholders, public health experts, and community members. Here are some key steps that can be taken to shape future cannabis policies.