Business Oregon Unable to Provide Financial Services to Marijuana Industry

Despite the passing of Oregon State Ballot Measure 91, Business Oregon is unable to provide financial services to businesses that engage in the possession, manufacture or sale of marijuana for a variety of reasons that include:

  1. Oregon law limits eligibility to participate in most of Business Oregon's programs to traded sector businesses only. ORS 285A.010(17) defines traded sector as "industries in which member firms sell their goods or services into markets for which national or international competition exists." Because marijuana remains illegal in many other states and countries and licensees may not export marijuana from this state, it does not meet the definition of a traded sector business.
  2. Most Business Oregon programs require the applicant to comply with all local, state and federal laws. To date, marijuana is listed as a controlled substance under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (Controlled Substances Act), and thus the possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana remain a crime under federal law.
  3. While legally sanctioned in Oregon, cannabis-related businesses still face significant financial and banking challenges nationwide. To deal with these issues, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Joint Memorial 12 urging Congress to develop a solution to the financial issues that arise from the operation of a marijuana business and urged Congress to declassify marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Thus far, neither Congress nor any state legislature has identified a solution to these financial barriers.

Business Oregon is unable to provide loans, loan guarantees, grants, bonds or other financial incentives, or to utilize any portion of its program funds or resources (whether from federal or state sources) to serve companies in the marijuana industry until these legal and financial restrictions are lifted. The above reasons also are generally applicable to tax incentives, whether credits and other types of abatements, that are otherwise available for businesses at the state or local level.

For those looking to do business in the marijuana industry, you may find alternative resources on the National Cannabis Industry Association website.