How to Open a Dispensary in Oregon 

7 min read

How to Open a Dispensary in Oregon 

February 17, 2023

Oregon is one of the few states in the US that has legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Since then, the state has seen a rapid increase of cannabis dispensaries that cater to the needs of both medical and recreational users. With its reputation for being a cannabis-friendly state, Oregon is considered a prime destination for cannabis enthusiasts. In recent years, the cannabis industry in Oregon has grown significantly, with the number of dispensaries increasing to meet the demand of the growing market. In this article, we will break down in detail how to open a dispensary in Oregon.  

Marijuana was legalized in Oregon for medical use in 1998 when voters passed the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) through a ballot initiative. This law allowed patients with qualifying medical conditions to use and possess cannabis with a valid medical card.  

Later, in 2014, Oregon voters approved Measure 91, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and older. This allowed individuals to possess and use up to 1 ounce of marijuana in public and up to 8 ounces in their private residences. Measure 91 also allowed for the licensing and regulation of cannabis dispensaries in the state. The first legal sale of recreational marijuana in Oregon took place in October 2015.  

If you are seeking more detailed info regarding Oregon Marijuana Laws,  follow this link

How to get a Dispensary License in Oregon

Here is a multi-step process of how to get a dispensary license in Oregon that involves navigating various regulations and requirements. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is the regulatory body responsible for issuing dispensary licenses in the state. Here are the general steps to obtain a dispensary license in Oregon.

Determine Eligibility – The first step is to determine if you can apply for a dispensary license. You must be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal background check, and not be a resident of a state where cannabis is illegal.

Complete Pre-License Training – All applicants for an OLCC license must complete an approved training program before submitting an application. The training covers various topics, including compliance, security, and record-keeping.

Obtain Local Approval – Before applying for an OLCC license, you must obtain approval from the city or county where your dispensary will be. This involves obtaining a business license and complying with local zoning and land-use regulations.

Submit Application – Once you have completed the training and obtained local approval, you can submit your application to the OLCC. The application includes detailed information about the business, such as its name, location, and ownership structure.

Pass Inspection – After submitting your application, an OLCC inspector will visit your dispensary to ensure it meets all the required regulations. This includes verifying security measures, such as surveillance cameras and an alarm system, are in place.

Pay Fees – There are various fees associated with obtaining and maintaining a dispensary license in Oregon. These fees can include an application fee, an annual license fee, and a fee for required inspections.

Maintain Compliance – Once you have obtained your dispensary license, you must maintain compliance with all OLCC regulations. This includes regular reporting requirements and compliance with security and record-keeping standards.

Obtaining an Oregon dispensary license requires careful planning and attention to detail. It is important to ensure that all regulations and requirements are met to avoid delays or complications in the licensing process. Following these steps, you can obtain a dispensary license and operate a successful cannabis business in Oregon.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Dispensary in Oregon?

The cost of opening a dispensary in Oregon can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as location, size, and the amount of inventory you plan to stock. However, there are some general costs that you can expect to incur when opening a dispensary in Oregon. Here are some of the common expenses to consider:

License Type

      Application Fee    

License Fee

Medical Dispensary/Processor



Retail Dispensary






Recreational Producer


   $1,000 – $5,750

The costs can range from tens of thousands to several hundred thousand dollars or more. It is important to consider all expenses associated with opening a dispensary and create a comprehensive business plan to ensure long-term success.                                               

Can I Open a Dispensary in Oregon Now? 

Yes, it is possible to open a dispensary in Oregon in 2023, as the state has established a regulatory framework for the licensing and operation of cannabis dispensaries. 

How to Draft a Business Plan for Your Dispensary in Oregon

A comprehensive business plan is essential when starting a dispensary in Oregon. A business plan is a detailed document that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections for your dispensary. Here are some key elements to consider when drafting a business plan for your dispensary in Oregon.

  • Market Analysis: You should analyze the local market and competition in the cannabis industry in Oregon. You should also describe the unique aspects of your dispensary that will set you apart from other cannabis businesses.
  • Business Strategy: Try to outline your dispensary’s operational strategies, such as product offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies. The plan should also detail your supply chain, procurement, and inventory management processes.
  • Financial Plan: In this section, you are to provide financial projections for your dispensary, including income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets, as well as a detailed budget for startup costs and ongoing expenses, as well as revenue projections.
  • Management and Personnel: outline the roles and responsibilities of the management team and the qualifications of the key personnel involved in the dispensary’s operation. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: This is a necessary step to involve in the plan regarding the regulatory requirements for operating a dispensary in Oregon and how you plan to ensure compliance with all state and local laws and regulations.

A well-crafted business plan can help you secure financing, attract investors, and guide your decision-making processes as you navigate the challenges of the cannabis industry. Including these key elements in your business plan ensures that your dispensary is positioned for long-term success.

How to Stay Compliant in Oregon

Launching and using the Metrc Track and Trace system is mandatory for all licensed dispensaries in Oregon to document their sales for state regulatory purposes.

The METRC system was created specifically for cannabis companies in the United States to oversee the production and sales of the products by carefully tracking every transaction, guaranteeing adherence to state laws, and collecting taxes. Within the METRC tracking system, the Point of Sale (POS) software plays an essential role. By integrating with the METRC tracking system, the POS system enables companies to manage sales, inventory, and customer information in real time, allowing for the immediate recording and reporting of transactions.

IndicaOnline provides an all-in-one solution for dispensaries that is fully compliant with state laws, offering features such as POS software, e-commerce platforms, and delivery services, allowing for complete transparency for regulators and patients. With IndicaOnline’s solution, you can effortlessly monitor and document your cannabis products with detailed information and generate reports automatically for tax and compliance purposes. You no longer need to be concerned with inventory updates or customer management, as the system takes care of these aspects. 

How to Choose the Right Dispensary Location in Oregon

Choosing the right location for a cannabis dispensary in Oregon is a very important decision that can significantly impact your business’s success. When selecting a location, it is essential to consider factors such as zoning laws, proximity to potential customers, competition, accessibility, and visibility, and have a clear understanding of local regulations and restrictions. By taking the time to evaluate these factors carefully, you can select a location that is well-suited for your cannabis dispensary and increase your chances of success in the growing Oregon cannabis industry. 

The Current Marijuana Business Climate in Oregon

The marijuana business climate in Oregon is rapidly evolving, with a thriving industry providing jobs and tax revenue to the state. Additionally, the state is home to many successful marijuana cultivators, processors, and wholesalers working to meet the growing demand for legal marijuana.

Despite this success, the marijuana industry in Oregon faces a number of challenges, including a surplus of marijuana, a lack of access to traditional banking services, and ongoing concerns about the impact of marijuana on public health and safety. The state has implemented a number of regulations and initiatives, such as limiting the number of marijuana plants that can be grown and cultivated and investing in research and education to understand the effects of marijuana legalization better. 

Despite these challenges, the marijuana business climate in Oregon is strong and continues to grow, providing economic opportunities for businesses and individuals and generating significant tax revenue for the state.


In conclusion, the cannabis industry in Oregon is a fast-growing market that presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors looking to start a cannabis dispensary. However, as with any business, success requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. By conducting thorough research on the local market and regulations, you can position yourself for success in the highly competitive and regulated cannabis market in Oregon. With a commitment to quality products, excellent customer service, and compliance with all state and local laws, you can establish a successful and profitable cannabis dispensary.