Our Viewpoint: Portland drags its feet on marijuana licenses

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The wheels of government turn slowly in Portland, a city that often seems strangled by bureaucracy.

The latest example of slow-motion government is a several months-long delay for the 33 applicants who seek licenses to open adult-use marijuana stores.

These hopeful retailers submitted their applications before last Aug. 31, hoping to be ready to open their doors soon after the statewide recreational market opened officially on Oct. 9, 2020.

Now it’s seven months after applications were submitted, and almost five months after the legal start of adult-use marijuana sales, and Portland still has not issued any licenses.

Meanwhile, buyers may cross the bridge to buy legally in South Portland, carrying out the state’s official, although much-delayed policy that seeks to regulate and tax the lucrative and formerly underground market.

The city’s delay is perplexing, as is the lack of an explanation. The administrator says only that they have a year to make a decision on the applications.

Let’s hope it does not take that long.

This unexplained delay provides more evidence that Portland is not friendly to those who want to start small businesses.