Friday, June 21

Oregon Introduces New Online System to Let Cannabis Businesses Apply for and Renew Licenses

Opportunities for cannabis businesses in the United States are slowly but surely expanding, and this week entrepreneurs received some help in Oregon.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which is in charge of administering business licenses to recreational marijuana businesses, has signed an agreement with NIC USA, Inc., for a new online application system for business licenses.

The Kansas-based company provides solutions for online applications for commercial growers, processors, wholesalers and retailers. NIC USA’s software will allow the state to begin accepting applications through the system by January 2016.

Prospective and current business owners can use the system to apply for a new license or renew an existing one. They can also pay their license fees by credit card, pay cannabis taxes and update their license information.

The OLCC is paying an annual subscription fee of $80,000 to NIC USA with no upfront costs. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services also uses NIC USA for its E-GOV web portal.

This service is just one of many ways that states are trying to make marijuana cultivation business plans and licenses easier for entrepreneurs to create or obtain.

Taxes, however, remain an obstacle for many businesses starting up, no matter where they fall on the cannabis supply chain.

In Washington, for example, the state charges a 25% tax at each stage of the sale, from the growing stage all the way to retail.

Yet Oregon has recently passed a new law that will bring the prices down by as much as 20%, according to estimates from a new report from ECONorthwest, “Oregon Cannabis Tax Revenue Estimate.” The report outlines a new plan that will help the state bring in taxes while keeping costs down — and thus encouraging cannabis users to buy from legal sources.

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