© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Report: Oregon Tops For Cannabis Dispensaries Per Capita

Brian Bull

For cannabis dispensaries, Oregon ranks top nationally for states, with five of its cities in the top 10.

Marijuana dispensary chain Verilifecommissioned the survey. It shows Oregon with 16.5 dispensaries per 100,000 residents.

Credit Verilife
This map shows the top 30 cities for cannabis dispensaries. Oregon has eight.

Cities Medford, Eugene, Portland, Salem, and Bend have the most dispensaries per capita within the state.

Matt Zachejowski of media group Digital Third Coast speaks for Verilife on the findings.

“The data we’re reporting on here is strictly brick-and-mortar marijuana dispensaries that are both either medicinals or recreational,” he says.

Credit Verilife
This map shows Oregon as first in the U.S. for cannabis dispensaries per capita, followed by Oklahoma and Montana.

That data Zachejowski’s referring to is from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

“It’s not really surprising in that so many of those retailers weren’t necessarily starting up from scratch, they came over or migrated from the Oregon Medical Marijuana program,” says commission spokesman Mark Pettinger.  

He adds by the time cannabis was legalized for recreational use in fall 2015, there were roughly 450 dispensaries set up through the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP).

“That’s significantly different than a lot of other states that had not had a medical marijuana program,” Pettinger says. “Did not have a lot of existing retail outlets that were working or serving as dispensaries.  

“And so that’s a significant reason why there are so many Oregon cities on this list that shows that there is a significant per capita dispensaries per Oregon’s population.”

Today, only three OMMP dispensaries are listed on the state government website.

Going roughly four and a half years since recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon, the industry seems stable and thriving.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A marijuana grow in the Cottage Grove area.

OLCC statsshow more than 1822 active licenses for marijuana producers, and 923 for retailers.

Pettinger says there has been some reduction among both groups. 

“Some of it has been entrepreneurs who might’ve been good growers and good producers but not necessarily good business people. But the number of retailers in Oregon really hasn’t really gone down significantly.  

“There’s probably been greater disruption in the producing segment. In either folks exiting the industry or running afoul of our rules or laws.”

The latest datashows about 350 inactive licenses for Oregon cannabis retailers or producers.

Meanwhile, Verilife’s report shows marijuana tax revenue for Oregon exceeded $94 million in 2018, making it fourth in the U.S.  California topped that list with $345 million.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Related Content