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|Articles - April 2014|
|Thursday, March 27, 2014|
Page 1 of 4
BY JOSHUA HUNT
Dan is 41 and has spent the last 18 years of his life working for a major aircraft company in the Portland area. It’s a good living but nothing compared to the millions of dollars worth of pot that he sells each year — legally.
Far from the image of Walter White, the suburban drug kingpin of television’s Breaking Bad, Dan, who asked that we not print his last name, is just one of hundreds of entrepreneurs who are betting big on medical marijuana in Oregon. It’s far from a long shot, according to a report cited by the Huffington Post, which predicts legal marijuana sales will grow to $2.34 billion nationally in 2014. If the report is correct, legal pot will outstrip even the competitive smartphone market in terms of growth this year.
That growth has been sparked by a national trend unfolding in states that have moved to decriminalize marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law. In Colorado, a family-owned shop that began in 2010 as a medical marijuana dispensary took in nearly $100,000 on the first day of business operating under new state laws that allow the sale of recreational pot, according to Yahoo News.
In Oregon, pot has also been paying off for businessmen like Dan, an early adopter who opened Mt. Hood Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary with two Portland area locations, three years ago.
Business is booming, thanks to more than 60,000 registered Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders, whom researchers at Oregon State University estimate spend about $96 million annually on cannabis products. But that number is set to explode in 2014, with more people than ever before eligible for medical marijuana under a broader set of qualifying conditions that now includes post-traumatic stress disorder. Less than a month after patients diagnosed with PTSD legally qualified for OMMP cards, many dispensary owners had already noted an increase in business from them — many of them veterans.
There is, however, another reason industry insiders are expecting a boost in 2014. In March the Oregon Health Authority began its medical marijuana dispensary registry program, which gives operations like Dan’s a new set of rules to follow: mandatory, round-the-clock security; required laboratory testing to ensure marijuana that is free of mold, mildew and pesticides; rules keeping dispensaries more than 1,000 feet away from schools and other dispensaries.
It’s a system industry experts say is going to separate the weed from the chaff, allowing legitimate businesses to generate millions in annual revenue and attracting mainstream investors, while forcing out a criminal element that have thrived on the fringes of Oregon’s medical marijuana industry.
“This registry is going to bring transparency into the equation, and that’s going to make the whole industry more honest, open and profitable,” Dan says. “For the first time, businesses like mine will be able to advertise, and with all dispensaries required to test their product, patients aren’t going to get cheated by criminals looking to make a quick buck selling bad weed to people who don’t know any better.”
Momentum to legalize marijuana continues to grow, and the registry will give the industry a level of legitimacy it has never known before. But in Oregon, considered a seminal state in the debate over legalizing pot, there are also signs the industry will evolve along familiar lines — reinforcing an urban/rural divide that has marked the state’s history for decades.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Training, from the mundane to the sublime, bolsters companies and workers in an uncertain world.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Car and ride sharing services have taken urban areas by storm. Low-income and suburban communities are left at the curb.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER
Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.
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Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.