Medical and Recreational Marijuana Regulations

 Updated: November 17, 2015

What's New

On October 27, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted A-Engrossed Ordinance No. 804, which addresses marijuana regulation in Washington County. A-Engrossed Ordinance No. 804 amends existing regulations in the Community Development Code (CDC) specific to medical marijuana dispensaries and creates new regulations that will be applicable to retail recreational marijuana facilities once those facilities are legally allowed to operate in Oregon.  

The ordinance applies identical regulatory standards to both types of marijuana facilities and permits retail marijuana facilities in the same land use districts where medical marijuana dispensaries are currently allowed. Buffer requirements and minor text updates are also included in the ordinance.

At this time, the Board has not directed staff to develop regulations for growing and for processing the existing medical marijuana industry or for growing, processing, and wholesale uses for the pending recreational marijuana industry. 


Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The licensing and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries is regulated primarily by the Oregon Health Authority. However, Washington County has also adopted regulations that specify where medical marijuana dispensaries may be located and that establish standards for the operation of dispensary facilities in areas outside of cities in Washington County (unincorporated area). The County's special use standards that regulate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are found in Community Development Code Section 430-80.  

County Land Use Districts where Medical Marijuana Dispensaries may be Sited:

Additional County Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulations

Additional State Medical Marijuana Dispensary Information


Retail Recreational Marijuana Facilities

Growing, processing, wholesale and retail activity associated with the recreational marijuana industry will be licensed and regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). The OLCC will begin taking applications for these commercial marijuana activities beginning January 4, 2016.

On October 27, 2015, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners adopted A-Engrossed Ordinance No. 804. This included new regulations for retail marijuana facilities. 

After January 1, 2016, recreational marijuana retail outlets in unincorporated Washington County (outside of cities) will be allowed to locate in the identical land use districts as medical marijuana dispensaries and will be subject to the same development and operating standards that currently regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.


Land Use Compatibility Statements (LUCS)

Persons interested in undertaking commercial growing, processing, wholesale or retail activities for recreational marijuana will need to obtain a signed land use compatibility statement (LUCS) from the County's LUT Current Planning section. The LUCS form will be available from the OLCC website prior to January 1, 2016.  The signed LUCS provides confirmation to applicants and the OLCC as to whether a proposed marijuana-related commercial activity is compatible with local zoning. The LUCS will indicate any additional steps the applicant needs to undertake with the local planning office in order to be in compliance with applicable local development and building codes.


Personal Use 

With the passage of Ballot Measure 91 in November, 2014, a person 21 year of age and older may possess, out of public view:

  • 8 ounces of dried marijuana leaves and/or flowers
  • 4 marijuana plants
  • 1 pound of solid homemade marijuana products
  • 4.5 pounds of liquid homemade marijuana products

As of October 1, 2015, all adults 21 years of age and older are allowed to buy limited amounts of dried marijuana flowers and up to 4 immature marijuana plants through medical marijuana dispensaries.



October 2015 - The OLCC released temporary rules to regulate the recreational marijuana industry. These rules are expected to remain in effect from Jan. 1 to June 28, 2016.  The Washington County Board of County Commissioners adopts A-Engrossed Ordinance No. 804.

June 30, 2015 - The Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3400, which provided guidance to the OLCC in formulating state rules that address the requirements of the ballot measure.

November 2014 - Oregon voters approved Statewide Ballot Measure 91, which allows personal use and possession of recreational marijuana subject to Oregon law. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is tasked with developing and implementing state regulations for recreational marijuana.

October 28, 2014 - Board adopted A-Engrossed Ordinance No. 792, which became effective on November 28, 2014. It adopted county regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries and ended the temporary moratorium imposed by Ordinance No. 781.

April 22, 2014 - Washington County Board of Commissioners adopted Ordinance No. 781 implementing a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana dispensary facilities until local regulations could be adopted.

March 19, 2014 - Oregon Senate Bill 1531 became effective. It authorized local jurisdictions to adopt reasonable regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries, and included provisions allowing local jurisdictions to adopt a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries through May 1, 2015. 


Additional Information

For information on land use requirements for development of a marijuana facility, contact the LUT Current Planning section at 503-846-8761.