2013 is fast shaping up to be the year when the legal marijuana industry finally broke through to the mainstream. But entrepreneurs planning to start up a medical marijuana dispensary in Oregon may find that the cost of setting up such a business could be more than they bargained for. In recent meetings held to iron out the details of the newly-passed dispensary laws in the state, licensing fees for dispensaries were pegged at $2,000 to $6,000. As one member of the committee suggested, the cost may be broken down to $1,000 for the application fee, with the remaining $5,000 being allocated to a licensing fee which is to be paid every year.

These rates were naturally met with opposition from several sectors. One dispensary owner who attended the meeting proposed a much more reasonable $400 application fee, with an additional $1,600 to be paid every year. Although the actual fee has yet to be finalized–various issues will still have to be considered before a recommendation can be made to the Oregon health department–the fee structure will likely remain the same.

The new dispensary law in Oregon also stipulates that the state can collect as much as $803,276 from the dispensary program every two years. The final amount to be charged to dispensary owners will also ultimately depend on how many of them will apply for business licenses. At present, there are approximately 200 unregulated dispensaries in Oregon (Marijuana Business Factbook), and it is doubtful that all of them will be willing to pay the proposed fees for licensing.

One possible scenario is that half of all the dispensaries in Oregon will apply for licenses, in which case each will be expected to pay about $8,000 over the next two years. With $1,000 charged for the application fee, and $3,000 charged for the annual fee, this will come to about $7,000 during the first two years. This will give the state enough leeway to deal with additional dispensaries as well as applicants that will not qualify for a license.

The other scenario proposed by the district attorney is the payment of $11,000 over a two-year period. This will allow for a maximum of 70 dispensaries, while the dispensary proposal of $3,600 for the first two years will accommodate over 200 dispensaries.

medical marijuana in jars

This early on, there are indicators that the final fee will be placed toward the higher end of the scale. One of the most compelling arguments for this is the announcement made by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to the effect that medical marijuana collectives will be required to pay fees that “provide significant funding to the Oregon Health Authority”, allowing them to be “extremely vigorous” in enforcing medical marijuana guidelines. At present, various aspects of the Oregon ruling are being debated in order to come to a decision with regard to the amount to be charged to would-be dispensary owners. The committee is expected to come to a decision by December 1, 2013.

If you would like to know more about the medical marijuana business and the prices of starting up your own dispensary, contact us today for some invaluable advice!

About the Author: Brian Ellis

With 6 years' experience in business journalism, Brian is the person we turn to for anything related to the business of cannabis. His news coverage spans topics including marijuana business and finance. Brian's work features on themarijuanapages.com, marijuanareferral.com, , marijuanamerchantaccount.com and marijuanainsuranceagent.com.

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