Legal ‘pot’ has brisk East Portland sales on opening day

Here’s why many healthy folks were lined up, outside many outer East Portland medical marijuana dispensaries, on October 1 …

Customers line up, waiting their turn to buy recreational marijuana in the Centennial neighborhood at Canna-Daddy’s Wellness Center Dispensary.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For most people, October 1 was just another Thursday. But, for some it was “opening day” of legal marijuana sales for recreational use, joining the states of Washington and Colorado.

“I’ve been waiting to see this day all my life,” said Rodney Taylor, a 65-year-old Vietnam vet as he walked up to get in line at Canna-Daddy’s Wellness Center Dispensary located on SE Division Street

“When I got out of the service, I was caught with a couple of joints [marijuana cigarettes], and spent a month in jail,” Taylor told East Portland News. “It’s hard to believe I can just walk into a store, and buy some high-grade herb,” he added.

Prepared marijuana is now being offered for recreational use by medical-use marijuana dispensaries.

Canna Daddy’s Brad Zusman, who is also starting up Busy Bee Distributing, a wholesale delivery service, said nearly 100 customers visited his store – formerly a run-down used boat parts center.

By mid-morning, business was still brisk; Zusman told reporters he expected to sell $60,000 worth of marijuana on the opening day.

With more than 100 licensed medical-use marijuana dispensaries in the Portland area – and only 14 of them not offering recreational-use pot – there is no shortage of stores offering the goods.

However, the sale of marijuana remains illegal under U.S. federal law, and public use can run afoul of Oregon State law, too.

The Mt. Hood Wellness Center on SE Division Street, in the Hazelwood neighborhood, makes it clear they’re open for recreational use cannabis products.

To help prepare employers for the start of recreational marijuana sales, the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) hosted an attorney and product manufacturer to address the group at their July 9 meeting.

> Read and learn more about the rights of employers as
it applies to workers who use marijuana: CLICK HERE.

-4 Snacking on a cannabis-laced goodie may get in trouble with your employer, experts say.

During the GABA meeting, attorney Man M. Vu was asked, “If I prefer that my employees do not use marijuana at all, medical or recreational, even when away from the job, is that defensible from a legal standpoint?”

Vu replied, “Absolutely it is defensible. This is especially true, if the employer is requiring a drug screening for every employee, as a requirement of employment.”

For marijuana users free from employment concerns, this graphic, produced by the Portland Police Bureau, clarifies how much pot one is allowed.

Before you fire up that doobie and head out on the town, Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer reminds:

“Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) is a crime and can have deadly consequences. For public safety reasons, preventing DUII driving is a top law enforcement priority. Driving after consuming alcohol, marijuana and/or other intoxicants can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. If you consume an intoxicant, please don’t drive,” requested Simpson.

“Using marijuana in a public place remains illegal and can result in a citation being issued by law enforcement,” Simpson added.

The City of Portland has set up a “Marijuana Complaint Hotline” at (503) 823-9333. The telephone number was not in service when we called, so it remains unclear if users unhappy with the quality or price of marijuana they’ve purchased can call it to complain – or if it was established for another purpose.

If you have complaints about a medical dispensary related to nuisance issues or hours of operation, you may e-mail marijuana@portlandoregon.gov.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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