Is Cannabis Legal in Oregon?
Just north of famous Humboldt County, Oregon has its own rich history when it comes to cannabis. Both medical and recreational use of weed are legal in this green corner of the Pacific Northwest.
The Beaver State blazed a trail in 1973 when it became the first state to decriminalize the possession of cannabis in small amounts. This free spirit continued in 1998 when voters approved ballot Measure 67, legalizing medical marijuana. Measure 91, the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act, passed in 2014, making Oregon the fourth state to open up an adult-use market.
Since then, the market has boomed under the oversight of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC). Today, Oregon boasts over 800 active marijuana retail licenses, placing it among the leading states in terms of cannabis retail stores per capita.
Is it Legal to Market Cannabis in Oregon?
It is absolutely legal to market cannabis in Oregon. But is it easy? We’ll put it this way: It’s easier than Utah, Washington, D.C., and Hawaii. And it’s about the same as Colorado, Michigan and Illinois, which all follow similar rules.
Oregon cannabis marketing regulations focus mainly on honesty in advertising and limiting exposure to those under 21. The rules, found in OAR 845-025-8040, seek to ensure that advertising is not deceptive, doesn't target minors, and does not promote illegal activities. Advertisements must also steer clear of making health claims, suggesting transport of cannabis products across state lines, displaying consumption or encouraging excessive use.
Plus, Oregon has clear directives about the media channels usable for cannabis promotion, requiring that any channel must have an audience with no more than 30% expected to be under the age of 21. And those ads in print publications or on television, radio or the internet must include the following statements:
- Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug
- For use only by adults twenty-one years of age and older
- Keep out of reach of children
One last note: Like many states, Oregon does not allow cannabis retailers or brands to hand out flyers or handbills, or to place them under the windshield wipers of vehicles parked in public spaces.
How to Legally Market Cannabis Brands in Oregon
For those looking to tap into Oregon's thriving cannabis market, there's no shortage of avenues to explore, albeit within the confines of the law. Brands can utilize print, television and radio channels that have verified adult-majority audiences. Owned media channels, such as blogs, websites, white papers and newsletters are all in the mix.
Subscription-based media platforms, especially those with opt-in systems, can also be a significant asset.
Dispensary Marketing in Oregon
In Oregon’s competitive cannabis landscape, a focused and strategic marketing approach can help a retailer stand out. While traditional brick-and-mortar strategies may be limited, the digital sphere offers a world of possibilities—from engaging content to interactive platforms.
In a saturated market, it’s most important to know your target audience and zero in on it. Nail down your buyer personas and customer journey and tap into that for marketing purposes. Leveraging events throughout the year, especially during April with the 4/20 holiday, can further boost visibility and customer engagement.
Cannabis Brand Marketing in Oregon
So, how do brands in the Beaver State distinguish themselves in this crowded market? Well, embracing Oregon's rich natural and cultural tapestry can be a start. Brands like Treasure Valley Cannabis Company, which owns a retail store in eastern Oregon, was named after the Treasure Valley itself, which spans from that region to Boise, Idaho. Setting up near the border of one of the last remaining 100% prohibitionist states in the nation isn’t a bad idea to deepen your customer pool, either—especially in a state where you have something like 800 competitors. That said, there’s a delicate line to follow for not directly marketing to out-of-state residents.
Lucky Lion—a chain of four locations—takes a very different approach with a different market segment in mind: It brands its cannabis as “Lifted Luxury” with “Velvet Rope Rewards,” a boast that it “Curate[s] the finest cannabis available today” and a polished website.
And as the first state in the nation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the plant, promoting the state’s legacy strains—names like Blueberry and Do-Si-Dos—and telling the stories behind them is one way to tap into that Oregon pride and move products off the shelves.
In this ever-evolving industry, staying informed, adaptable and compliant are the keys to success. After all, it's not just about selling a product; it's about cultivating a responsible and sustainable relationship with the community. Cheers to Oregon for showing the way!
Top 10 Cannabis Brands in Oregon
From the rural Treasure Valley region near Idaho to the densely populated upper northwest where Portland and Salem sit, Oregonians and visitors to the state have an incredible number of options when it comes to retail brands—and an edibles juggernaut. Here are the top 10 brands in the Beaver State.