Manager of Eugene dispensary answers our questions about pot legalization

Today’s the big day. With the implementation of Measure 91, recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Oregon.

But Oregonians over the age of 21 will only tentatively be allowed to purchase recreational marijuana at existing medical marijuana dispensaries starting Oct. 1 This is in accordance with Senate Bill 460, which was approved June 30 by Oregon state senate. Recreational sales will be untaxed until the state implements the new sales taxation system in January 2016.

Eugene OG, located on Franklin Boulevard in Eugene, is the closest dispensary to the University of Oregon campus. We spoke to Lawrence Siskind, manager of Eugene OG, about how changing laws will affect the local dispensary.

Q: How does the July 1 date of the legalization of recreational marijuana immediately impact Eugene OG’s business?

A: Today it doesn’t affect the business that much at all. It may be a busier day, but we can still only sell to card holders today. In private, cardholders can give it to friends as long as they’re 21 or older. So it could lead to increased business on our part. Right now we have one cash register, and we’re getting two more for recreation. I predict that at that point there will be a big upswing in business.

Q: Once recreational marijuana is available to be sold in October, how do you think clients will change?

A: I don’t think the profile of our customers will change — except that there will probably be a lot more tourists. Currently, about half of our business comes from the university community, both professionals and students. The other half is from outside the university community. 

Q: How do you think this could impact the university community itself?

A: I’m not really aware of the amount of marijuana college students consume. My opinion is that people in the Eugene area who want marijuana can get it due to Eugene culture, and they have been able to access it for decades. I don’t think it will really change how much people consume, but rather it will change how they consume it, and where they purchase it. It’s a good thing because it will contribute to taxes and support the legal business community. It will also be healthier due to testing and therefore ultimately safer.

Q: Do you think there will be any negative aspects of the legalization of recreational marijuana, possibly within the partying community on campus?

A: The price will be a little higher, but that’s not necessarily a negative. For the most part I think it will be a positive thing. The products are safer, they’re tested, and there will be a general increase in education and safety.

Q: What are you looking forward to in the upcoming months? 

A: I’m looking forward to serving a broader array of people, and the broader community. To actually be in the community and accessible for everyone, and not just for medical cardholders, which was the intent when we started the business. It’s really exciting, and we’re looking forward to it.

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Shelby Chapman

Shelby Chapman