- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The entrepreneurs who see green in Oregon’s newest law aren’t dreaming of sticky marijuana buds. They’re seeing dollars.

Voters legalized recreational pot on Tuesday, a year after the Legislature permitted medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. The new law will open an even bigger market of recreational users.

At the Portland dispensary Shango, owner Shane McKee plans to apply for licenses to grow, test and sell marijuana - all separate roles in the new system.

“Our plan is vertical integration,” McKee said. “We’ll control every part of the process.”

Marijuana will be legal to possess on July 1, However, dispensaries are not expected to be granted licenses for recreational sales until the first half of 2016.



Passage of the ballot measure means the state must now draw up rules for its pot program. A similar process for medical dispensaries spanned months and resulted in an intricate system that governs product safety, business security systems and distances from schools.

McKee hopes the process results in a one-stop shop for medical and recreational dispensary users.

“You can have someone say, I have a (medical marijuana) card, and here you go, it’s $8,” McKee said. “Then another person comes up and you says, here’s the same (product) for recreational prices, it’s $10.”

Medical pot dispensaries in Oregon rely on a distribution system similar to the one used in Colorado, where proponents say the legal rollout of the drug went smoothly.

The vote on Tuesday to legalize recreational pot broke down along population and geographic lines. Large, liberal counties in western Oregon voted for the measure and carried the day; small, rural counties in the south and east opposed the measure, in some cases, overwhelmingly.

The sole exception was populous Marion County in Willamette Valley, which was leaning slightly against the measure with most of the votes counted.

The measure will permit adults older than 21 to possess an ounce of marijuana in public, and up to eight ounces at home. They can also possess up to four marijuana plants in their homes.

The marijuana proposal had been expected to do well with young voters. But baby boomers also showed strong support for Measure 91, with about six in 10 people between the ages of 50 and 64 voting for it, according to preliminary results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks.

Voters who said they were conservative and attended church every week strongly opposed the measure, according to the poll. But liberals overwhelmingly backed it, and six in 10 moderates did as well.

The Willamette Valley, which includes Portland, strongly agreed with the measure, and it was backed by both the poor and voters who make six figures.

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Reach Duara at https://www.twitter.com/nigelduara

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