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Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission Workgroup Meeting Inhalables, Artificially Derived Cannabinoids, & Concentration Limits

Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission Workgroup Meeting
Inhalables, Artificially Derived Cannabinoids & Concentration Limits

August 24, 2021 – 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

AGENDA

This meeting will be held virtually.

To listen to the meeting dial: 1 (224) 501-3412; Access Code: 598-748-669

Audio from the meeting will be posted on our website after the meeting. Please allow 7-10 business days for it to be posted.

For questions or more information: olcc.rulemaking@oregon.gov

Oregon Governor Brown Signs Hemp Regulatory Bill

Testing of southern Oregon hemp farms starts this week

 

OREGON:  At a special commission meeting on July 19, 2021, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) approved temporary rules allowing the agency to work with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to begin field testing of hemp fields across Oregon; these tests are to determine if the grows are legitimate or illegal. The OLCC rules follow yesterday’s signature by Oregon Governor Kate Brown of House Bill 3000, which also establishes standards to prevent minors from purchasing intoxicating products derived from hemp. 

The OLCC temporary rules establish a limit on the level of THC (the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana) that can be in a hemp-derived product. In addition, it creates methods for testing hemp in the field to distinguish between true hemp and marijuana.

This week, starting in southern Oregon, OLCC and ODA will begin to inspect registered hemp grow sites equipped with THC field testing units. “Our objective through the remainder of the summer and into the fall is to make sure that every field gets these tests done,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks.

There are four main components to HB 3000:

  • Regulating cannabis intoxicants
  • Curbing illegal production of cannabis
  • State program compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill
  • Establishing a task force to address the regulation and marketing of growing cannabis in Oregon

Under the new law, sales of adult-use cannabis items to minors are immediately prohibited. Previously a form of THC, Delta-8-THC, could be produced from hemp and used to make products with higher potency levels than marijuana. However, Delta-8-THC was being sold outside Oregon’s regulated market and could be found at neighborhood convenience stores, where children could buy it. In January of 2022, the OLCC, ODA, and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will set new potency and concentration limits for THC and other cannabis intoxicants in hemp products intended for sale to adults.

The legislation requires establishing tracking requirements for cannabinoid hemp commodities and products intended for human consumption, similar to tracking cannabis products sold in the OLCC regulated recreational or adult-use market.

HB 3000 gives OLCC and ODA tools to target illicit production of hemp. Specifically around cannabis being illegally produced because it is unregistered or under the guise that it’s hemp. OLCC inspectors will support ODA’s staff, with law enforcement providing necessary protection and safety assessments to the joint inspection teams. Together the agencies will  inspect hemp grow sites to test the crop’s THC levels to determine compliance with Oregon’s Hemp Program and, if necessary, take enforcement action, which could include crop destruction.

The law amends Oregon’s hemp laws to align with state statues, 2018 Farm Bill requirements and the US Department of Agriculture’s final rules. Oregon will submit a State Plan to USDA demonstrating key compliance measures, including the authority for criminal records checks and allowing license denials based on a hemp registration applicant’s criminal record.

OLCC and ODA staff will brief southern Oregon elected officials on the inspection plans later this week as inspectors get ready to fan out across Jackson and Josephine counties. However, OLCC Executive Director Marks indicated that legitimate hemp farmers should have no concerns.

“We’re really not trying to define what hemp is here: we’re really trying to spot check and take a minimum amount of samples to figure out what is commercial marijuana,” said Marks. “This will enable ODA or law enforcement to stop the illegal production of marijuana disguised as hemp production.”

The OLCC temporary rules remain in effect until January 1, 2022, when additional other legislative requirements of HB 3000 go into effect.

OLCC Continues Transformation As Oregon’s Cannabis Regulator

Commission contemplates agency’s pending name change

Legislature adds to OLCC’s responsibilities, boosts agency budget

OREGON:  In the wake of Oregon’s recently completed 2021 legislative session, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission began contemplating the strategic path the agency will take to implement new regulatory responsibilities. That was one of the matters Commissioners covered during their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

The Commission also approved penalties in several stipulated settlements for violations committed by recreational marijuana licensees, placed restrictions on three recreational marijuana licenses, and approved a temporary rule adjusting a Cannabis Tracking System requirement.

Oregon lawmakers approved a series of bills that will continue the transformation of the OLCC’s regulatory responsibilities from an agency focused on oversight of the alcohol industry to a regulator engaged in consumer protection of alcohol and cannabis products, control of adult intoxicants, and upholding public health and safety laws. The agency’s evolving mission is reflected in a law changing the agency’s name to the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission that takes effect August 2, 2021.

The OLCC also provided technical support to legislators working to curb illegal hemp and marijuana production and bring hemp produced intoxicating products under stricter control. Currently Delta-8-THC, which is chemically extracted from hemp, can be sold to children at neighborhood convenience stores; House Bill 3000 requires the OLCC to keep THC products away from kids. HB 3000 also directs OLCC to work the Oregon Department of Agriculture and other state and local government agencies to crack down on illegal cannabis grows.

“What’s going on in southern Oregon with the cartel takeover of cannabis growing through the guise of hemp and our role in being able to enforce that is all incredibly important,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. “We and our partners are poised to begin eradicating this illegal activity, to bring stability to disrupted communities starting in Jackson and Josephine counties, and to ensure that our legal, licensed, tax-paying cannabis licensees aren’t being undermined by illegal market activity.”

The legislature approved the OLCC’s plan to modernize its licensing system and alcohol distribution and tracking infrastructure, approving funding for information technology upgrades and a new consolidated warehouse. Even before the pandemic distilled spirits sales have grown steadily year-over-year straining the existing capacity at OLCC’s two warehouses. Without the expansion the state is projected to lose $586.9 million during the next decade. The OLCC has been laying the groundwork to acquire a new warehouse for more than a year.

”Where this agency has to go, we really have to help all of our licensees,” said Marks. “The hospitality industry, alcohol and cannabis move on to post-Covid recovery. We’ve got a lot of challenges there for the industry next two years. To make sure Oregon’s economy is strong and we do our part with that with the resources given to us.”

Commissioners ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

BLACK MARKET PRODUCTIONS will pay a $4,950 fine OR serve a 30-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for one violation.

Licensee is: BM Productions, LLC; Daniel Shandy, Member.

TRYKE CITY in Brookings will pay a $5,750 fine OR serve a 23-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation (second-level).

Licensee is: Tryke City, LLC; Bryan Grant, Member; Han Bao Liu, Member.

EXODUS WELLNESS CENTER in Portland will pay a $5,610 fine OR serve a 34-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for four violations.

Licensee is: Cathleen Huffine, Co-Licensee; Rick Dudley, Co-Licensee.

TELOS CONSULTING will surrender its recreational marijuana producer license for three violations, on the date the transfer of ownership of the business is completed or on October 15, 2021, whichever is earlier.

Licensees are: Telos Consulting, LLC; Yaqun Liu, Member.

The licensees of BULL MOON received a letter of reprimand for two violations. The licensees surrendered their recreational marijuana producer license to the OLCC on May 27, 2020.

Licensees are: Bull Moon, Inc.; Thomas Ertel, President/Secretary/Treasurer/Director; Tailed J, Inc., Stockholder; Thomas Ertel, President/Secretary/Treasurer/Director/Stockholder.

The licensees of SOLSGREEN received a letter of reprimand for seven violations. The licensees surrendered their recreational marijuana producer license to the OLCC on April 9, 2021.

Licensee is: P&E Green Solutions, LLC; Pedro Morales, Managing Member.

MARK SCHENK; permit holder will pay a $350 fine or serve a 14-day marijuana worker permit suspension for two violations.

The Commission approved restrictions to a recreational marijuana producer license for the applicants of

EUGENIUS. The applicant’s landlord, who will benefit or suffer financially from the proposed business, has a poor record of compliance as a recreational marijuana licensee. The license restrictions require that the landlord not have any involvement in the operation or management of the business, not act as employee or agent of the business, and not be on the licensed premises at any time.

The Commission approved restrictions to a recreational marijuana producer license for the applicants of FALAHI and a marijuana processor license for the applicants of FALAHI. The applications included one individual who has a poor record of compliance as a recreational marijuana licensee. The license restrictions requires the licensee to prohibit one individual from any involvement in the operation or management of the business, or to provide any services to the business, and not be on the licensed premises at any time. The licensee and their employees are also required to complete additional Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) training and to put in place protocols to ensure better CTS compliance.

Reopening Oregon Guidance for OLCC Recreational Marijuana Licensees

Following Governor Brown’s announcement that the State of Oregon is re-opening for business, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is providing a status update to the temporary and permanent rules and processes put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 21-15 on June 25, 2021. Subject to limited exceptions, effective June 30, 2021, EO 21-15 rescinded the risk-level framework that placed operational restrictions on many different sectors, including OLCC licensed recreational marijuana businesses.

In response to restrictions placed on licensed businesses during the pandemic, the OLCC created allowances or exceptions to certain requirements to provide flexibility to businesses operating under the restrictions. The OLCC recognizes that there will be a period of transition as licensees reconfigure their businesses now that COVID restrictions have been lifted.

The COVID-19 Business Continuity page on the OLCC website has now been changed to ‘Reopening Oregon Resources.” The information in the table below can also be found here on the Business Continuity Information – Marijuana section under the “Reopening Oregon Resources” tab.

 

Allowance/Change Allowance expiration date Information
Curbside Delivery No expiration – will be discussed in a formal Rules Advisory Committee, including the allowance for walk-up/drive-up sales.  845-025-2885
Pre-licensing Inspections No expiration.  845-025-1090
Accepting expired ID’s – Grace period for ID’s that have been expired for 6 months or less. 12/31/2021  Following guidance from  Governor’s Office, Oregon State Police and Department of Motor Vehicles.

HB 2137 Moratorium Memo

Appointments for payment of licensing fees or violations No expiration.  See below for details
Certain packaging and Labeling Fees

 

TBD   845-025-1060 (8)(e)

845-025-1060(8)(f)

Allowance to work with a marijuana worker permit completed application and completed test 12/31/2021   See below for details

 

In-person payments for licensing fees or administrative violation fines at the OLCC:

The OLCC is still taking license and violation payments in person, in order to make a payment in person you must call the OLCC at 503-872-5151 to schedule an appointment.

If a licensee prefers, they may send a money order or a check. Please note that the OLCC will not approve the payment for 21 days to ensure that the check is valid.

For licensing actions that require payment the licensee may also submit their payment using a credit card through the online licensing portal. All other payments need to be check or money order mailed to the OLCC at 9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie, Oregon 97222. The check or money order must contain documentation so it is clear who the payment is coming from and what it is for.Examples of the kind of payments include but are not limited to: Worker permits, change of ownership and fingerprints payments.

Marijuana Worker Permits:

We will be continuing to allow applicants to work on an application until December 31, 2021 if the conditions outlined below are met.

  • ​​​Have an approved and active marijuana worker permit;
  • ​Have taken the marijuana worker permit test and submitted their marijuana worker permit application in the NIC/OLCC system https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Pages/mjworkerpermit.aspx prior to working for a licensed OLCC recreational marijuana business.

Please note: Once an application has been approved, the applicant will be notified that the permit application is in Ready for Pay status and will have 30 days to pay the permit fee per OAR 845-025-5520 (4). If payment is not received the application shall be considered incomplete and inactivated. Once inactivated, the worker permit application is not eligible to be used as meeting the above condition to work for an OLCC recreational marijuana licensed business. The applicant will need to reapply.

Should additional information to process a worker permit application be needed in order to complete the application, the applicant will have 30 days from the date of OLCC’s request to provide additional information and/or complete any outstanding action request corrections. Failure to complete the corrections or provide the requested additional information within 30 days from the request shall result in the application being considered incomplete and will be inactivated. Once inactivated, the worker permit application is not eligible to be used as meeting the above condition to work for an OLCC recreational marijuana licensed business. The applicant will need to reapply.

 

Oregon: Final Implementation of New Additive Rules Takes Effect July 1, 2021

Final Implementation of New Rules for Inhalable Cannabinoid Products with Non-cannabis Additives starts July 1st

 

Limited Retail Sell Down to Last Through Month of June

OREGON: The July 1, 2021 deadline for “Inhalable Cannabinoid Products with Non-cannabis Additives” (“ICP”) is rapidly approaching.  Generally, ICPs are vape cartridges and pre-rolls with non-cannabis terpenes or flavorings. On and after July 1, 2021, licensees cannot possess or transfer these products unless they comply with the new rule standards.

Before July 1, 2021, licensees can sell, destroy (waste), or return to the processor any ICPs that do not comply with the new rules – but if returning to another licensee, the ICPs will still need to be wasted in compliance with OLCC rules prior to July 1, 2021.

Licensees can use the following to spot labels subject to the “sell down” (cannot be possessed or transferred on and after July 1, 2021) and what labels are not subject to the sell down:

  • Labels subject to the sell down contain product identities like “marijuana extract with non-marijuana terpenes” or “marijuana extract with natural and artificial flavors” and ingredient listings that state “natural” or “artificial flavors.” Here is an example;
  • Labels that are NOT subject to the sell down contain product identities and ingredient listings that contain the words “non-cannabis additives” and list all the ingredients in the product – either on an insert or on the exterior label. Here is an example.
  • Licensees may no longer utilize generic labels for ICPs created on and after April 1, 2021.

In December 2020, the OLCC enacted new additive rules that impact all OLCC marijuana licensees and industrial hemp certificate holders. This is only a summary of the rules and in some instances the rule requirements are generalized. This is not a substitute for reading the rules. A more detailed explanation of the requirements can be found in Compliance Bulletin CE2020-07 along with links to the rules.

There are two important dates for licensees in these rules: April 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021:

  • On and after April 1, 2021, all ICPs manufactured or processed must comply with the new rule requirements;
  • On and after April 1, 2021, all ICPs must be correctly categorized in Metrc (this includes ICPs made before April 1, 2021). Licensees with these products in their inventory must make these changes. See the Inhalable Cannabinoid Products and Metrc Tracking Guide for more information; and
  • There is a limited “sell down” period for ICPs made before April 1, 2021. Processors may transfer ICPs made before April 1, 2021 that do not comply with the new rule requirements until June 30, 2021. As of July 1, 2021 licensees cannot even possess or transfer products that do not meet the new rule requirements.

 

Questions related to the rules or labeling should be directed to marijuana.packaging@oregon.gov.

Questions related to Metrc should be directed to marijuana.cts@oregon.gov.

Kaycha Announces Three New Labs In Massachusetts, Nevada & Oregon

With locations across the U.S., Kaycha Labs is establishing a national network of Cannabis and Hemp labs that provides essential product quality and safety information

FLORIDA: Kaycha Labs, a leader in Cannabis and Hemp testing technologies and methods, is adding three new states to its national network of labs. The company’s nine labs are in California, Colorado, Florida (Fort Lauderdale/Davie and Gainesville), Massachusetts, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

In recent weeks, Kaycha has acquired Evio Labs in Medford, Oregon, signed a definitive agreement to acquire DB Labs in anticipation of Clark County and Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board approvals, and received a provisional license to open and operate a lab in Natick, Massachusetts. Both the Oregon and Nevada labs were early entrants to their respective markets; Evio Labs Medford commenced operations in 2014 and DB Labs was organized in 2014 and operates its ~11,500-square-foot lab several blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip. The Massachusetts lab is a new build and is strategically located in Natick near major interstate highways within a couple hours driving time to all major customers.

James Horvath, CEO of Kaycha Labs, commented, “We know that the Cannabis industry is rapidly consolidating and that national Cannabis companies are working hard to build national brands. As they grow, we appreciate that there is a need for a testing partner who can provide and apply a uniform and consistent process.  Furthermore, all Kaycha labs will be equipped with back-up instrumentation so that client testing is not interrupted by an outage.” Chris Martinez, Kaycha Labs’ President, added, “We know clients value quality testing, fast turnaround times, and attractive pricing. And by adding to our network, we will be achieving even more scale, which will allow us to continue to lower our cost structure and pass these savings along to our clients.”

Oregon Cannabis Social Equity Bill Introduced

OREGON:  Repairing the harm from decades of inequity from the War on Drugs is the goal of the Cannabis Social Equity Act introduced this week by a coalition of legislators in the Oregon State Legislature. HB 3112 is the culmination of months of work led by former State Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spencer including numerous cannabis companies, the NuLeaf Project, the Oregon Cannabis Association, the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, the City of Portland, Urban League, and law students from Willamette University.

“We came together with a common purpose – to undo and repair some of the harm caused by cannabis criminalization on Black, Indignenious and Latinx communities in Oregon,” said Rep. Lawrence Spence. “This legislation uses cannabis tax revenue to invest in Oregonians who have been unjustly targeted for decades by law enforcement, in an effort to repair some of the generational harm done to their communities.”

Chief sponsors of HB 3112 include Representatives Janelle Bynum, Ricki Ruiz, Mark Meek, Julie Fahey and Senators Lew Frederick and Kayse Jama. Current sponsors include Representatives Karin Power, Pam Marsh and Maxine Dexter.

Jeanette Ward Horton, executive director of NuLeaf Project, has been working with the coalition since its inception eight months ago. NuLeaf Project receives funding from City of Portland cannabis tax revenues and private donations to aid cannabis start up companies with funds, technical assistance and job placement/training.

“We’ve seen the harm to far too many families to not address this issue. Cannabis convictions bring challenges that ripple through families and cause hardship for the children of children whose parents were disproportionately arrested. The loss of jobs, education grants, housing and more that can all stem from a minor cannabis conviction have impacted communities of color for generations. Today Oregon has the chance to undo some of that harm,” said Ward-Horton.

The bill contains three major provisions:

  • Direct investment in cannabis businesses owned by Black, Indigenious, and Latina/o/x people, as well as people convicted of cannabis crimes. Creates investment in home and land ownership, job training, health care, education and other areas determined by the Cannabis Equity Board.
  • Free, automatic expungement of eligible cannabis criminal convictions paid for by cannabis tax revenues as needed. Previous legislation saw less than 200 of 28,000 eligible Oregonians successfully complete expungement.
  • Equity licenses for Black-, Indigenous-, and Latina/o/x  owned cannabis companies with reduced fees and modified requirements to initially qualify. Provides for funding of two OLCC positions to aid in the licensure process, and includes the addition of three license types beneficial for the small businesses owner.

Chief Sponsor and State Rep. Ricki Ruiz said fixing the expungement process is a critical piece of the legislation.

“Less than 200 out of 28,000 Oregonians eligible for expungement were able to successfully complete the process in the past two years. We need to do better,” said Ruiz. “This bill provides us the path and the funding we need to efficiently remove previous cannabis crimes from people’s records and provide them the opportunity to repair their lives from the harm caused by cannabis criminalization. It is a critical step toward restoring the health of these individuals and the communities where they reside.”

Gabe Parton Lee, General Counsel at Wyld, spearheaded the design of the automatic expungement process

“What we clearly see is that those left in the destructive wake of cannabis prohibition have been helped the least by cannabis legalization. Instead, we see a rapidly-growing industry that has largely left behind people and communities who disproportionately suffered under cannabis criminalization,” said Parton Lee, general counsel for Wyld. “We are advocating for the use of cannabis tax dollars to help correct some of these long standing issues of inequity and provide for direct investment into people and neighborhoods most impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

State Rep. Julie Fahey helped drive the creation of the bill when she passed legislation in 2019 calling for a work group to develop a cannabis social equity program.

“This effort has brought together a diverse group of advocates, business owners, and industry partners to develop one of the most comprehensive equity bills in the country – breaking down barriers for BIPOC Oregonians and investing in the communities most harmed by cannabis criminalization. The cannabis industry is a driver of economic opportunity for entrepreneurs in our state, and this bill will help ensure that those harmed by the war on drugs have access to those opportunities,” said Fahey.

A coalition of cannabis companies and trade groups including the Oregon Cannabis Association, the Oregon Industry Progress Association, and the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association have all united around this legislation as the key cannabis related bill for the 2021 session. Major sponsors include Groundworks industries, Wyld, Wana and Dutchie with dozens of other cannabis companies, law firms and others supporting the effort.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission Licensing Director Message: Marijuana Licensing Streamlining Update

January 8, 2021

A Phased Approach

Early in 2020 because interest to enter Oregon’s expanding recreational marijuana market continued to grow, it became clear that we needed a new approach for processing marijuana license applications. In response, my staff and I conducted a program evaluation in March 2020, to identify opportunities for improvement throughout the licensing program. Aside from the need for our staffing resources to grow to match the industry’s requirements (which we will continue to address with our legislative partners) we developed a formal year-long improvement strategy outlined below in three phases.

Phase 1: Streamlined license renewal process (Complete)

This included reducing the complexity of renewal applications, making licensing system updates and updating internal processes regarding renewals. Improvements to our renewal system went live August 4, 2020.

Outcome: Marijuana license renewals process times have been reduced from an average of 347 days from submission in Q4 2019, to 156 days from submission in Q4 2020. Current licensees should realize these improvements at their next renewal period occurring after August 4, 2020.

 

Phase 2: Removal of Pre-licensing Inspections and streamlining workflows (Complete)

In April 2020, the Commission eliminated the requirement to conduct pre-licensing onsite inspections before issuing a license, and during last summer we made improvements to licensing workflows by reducing redundant routine reviews of work and providing more empowerment to staff. Our evaluation showed this was taking as much as 40-50% of the processing time for new applications; these improvements removed that constraint.

Outcome: Marijuana license application process times from assignment have been reduced from an average of 168 days in Q4 2019 to the average of 61 days in Q4 2020.

 

Phase 3: Entrusting the Industry (Complete)

The overall philosophy of this change was rethinking how we address marijuana licensing. Specifically, phase 3 changes reduced the level of scrutiny for applicants who have already been vetted and previously licensed. Further, the agency reassigned personnel and added contract workers to solely focus on licensing activity. The Commission also approved “streamlining licensing,” rule changes at our October 15, 2020 Commission meeting.

Outcome: License application processing times approved during the month of December 2020, averaged 54 days from the date of assignment. These tangible changes have reduced the back and forth between applicants and the Commission.

 

The Readiness Checklist: Who’s ready? Who’s not?

In addition, we’ve implemented a new process to provide us more insight into applicants within our applicant pool by utilizing a request for assignment form (aka “The Readiness Checklist”). This process helps identify a marijuana license applicant’s desire to be assigned and enables them to self-determine their readiness to complete the license process within the required 60 day period.

As of November 16, 2020, my staff has reached out to all 881 “pre-pause” applicants, to determine their desire and readiness to be assigned. Pre-pause applicants include applications submitted prior to the June 15, 2018, pause on processing licenses. As of January 5, 2021, we have:

  • 319 or approximately 36% of the 881 applications are ready to be assigned
  • 360 or approximately 40% of applicants have said they are not ready
  • These applicants have delayed assignment by an average of 5 months.
  • 139 applicants not respond at all.
  • 49 application withdrawals.
  • The remaining 14 are in process.

As of January 6, 2021, we have assigned all applicants who’ve requested to be assigned as of that date. Additionally, as we receive requests for assignments, now we are consistently able to assign applications within two to four weeks of receiving the request for assignment form.

In addition to this progress on new marijuana license applications, we have been able to reduce the time it takes to assign change requests (e.g. location, ownership, etc.) from four to six months in Q3 2019, to approximately two months in Q3 2020. Moving forward, while we further refine our processes, our standard is to be able to assign these requests within 60 days of receiving them.

Regarding the non-responsive applicants, we’ve reached out to each one and subsequently followed up with those applicants prior to December 12, 2020 in order to provide a final opportunity for them to respond before inactivating their application.

Industry members and applicants should ensure they are monitoring any communications from the Commission and double check that the contact information affiliated with the license application is up to date.

 

The New Year: What’s next?

Earlier this year, OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks committed to reducing the backlog of license applications by one third by February 1, 2021; at the time he made that pledge that meant reducing our application pool by a total of 350 applications. The progress we have demonstrated leads me to believe we will meet, or come close to, accomplishing that goal. Should we not be able to, this will be in large part due to the number of applicants who’ve indicated they’re not ready to be assigned. As mentioned above, we are assigning applications within two to four weeks of receiving a request for assignment form. The average time to process a license application once it’s assigned was 61 days in Q4 2020; that’s a significant reduction and close to the new standard we’ve set.

With the changes we’ve made this year and at the current pace that we receive license applications, this should not be difficult to maintain going forward. These accomplishments truly deliver what the industry asked us to address, both in timeliness and predictability. We hope this serves as an example of how we will continue to work with the industry and to strive to improve and make Oregon a leader in the cannabis industry and a model for cannabis regulation.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with feedback and guidance that will help us collectively make constructive improvements to the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program.

Jason Hanson

OLCC Director of Licensing

Jason.hanson@oregon.gov

 

 

Oregon: OLCC Commission Greenlights Solution For Streamlining License Applications

Commission supports “fix-it ticket” approach for minor compliance violations

Marijuana license stipulated settlements approved

OREGON: At its regular monthly meeting on October 15, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission moved forward with plans to streamline the agency’s recreational marijuana licensing process and adjust compliance and enforcement activity through a Verification of Compliance (VOC) program. The Commission also approved five marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

OLCC has been challenged to timely issue marijuana licenses since April 2016, due to the continued interest in the recreational market. Personnel and technology support have not kept pace with license applications that quickly shot past the initial projection of 800 licenses and now number more than 2,300.

As the industry has matured, the agency’s ability to regulate it has evolved and the OLCC has modified its licensing process several times in an attempt to streamline. This latest licensing process adjustment attempts to make it easier for applicants to begin operating before the final approval of changes in ownership and financial interest changes in a licensed business.

Likening the existing license process to a freeway that squeezes from 10 lanes down to two, the Chair of the Commission cautioned that efficiencies made through continuous adjustments to the licensing process would not be enough to address the long term licensing challenge.

“We’re not kidding ourselves, if we don’t get the manpower, the back end is going to be two lanes regardless of the ten lanes up front,” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC Chair. “If we don’t get the budget, we’re not going to solve this issue.”

For now, this licensing catch-up attempt will be similar to past efforts where staff were reallocated to the licensing division. Under this push to catchup, 16 OLCC staff members will be temporarily reassigned to licensing.

In addition to approving a temporary rule allowing the license process change, the Commission also initiated the permanent rulemaking process, which will expand the scope of the streamlining, as well as provide an opportunity for industry input.

The Commission also initiated the permanent rule making process for the new Verification of Compliance (VOC) program. The VOC program, which launched October 1, 2020, provides licensees with an opportunity to fix problems and avoid more severe penalties.

See Recreational Marijuana Program Compliance Education Bulletin 2020-05 for more information on the Verification of Compliance program.

The Commission also ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

GREENRIDGE AGRONOMY will serve a 65-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension OR pay a fine of $5,775 AND serve a 30-day license suspension cfor six violations.

Licensee is: GreenRidge Agronomy, LLC; Stanley Tamiyasu, Member; Brandon Pierson, Member.

HEALING GREEN DISPENSARY in Independence will surrender its marijuana retailer license suspension for two violations.

Licensees are: Healing Green, LLC; Michael Hecht, Member.

KAYA FARMS (#A8DF) will surrender its recreational marijuana processor license suspension for two violations.

Licensees are: Sunstone Marketing Partners, LLC; Robert Frey, Member/Manager.

KAYA FARMS (#035C) will surrender its recreational marijuana producer license suspension for three violations.

Licensees are: Sunstone Marketing Partners, LLC; Robert Frey, Member/Manager.

UPMQUA GREEN CROSS in Roseburg will surrender its recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for seven violations.

Licensees are: Umpqua Green Cross, LLC; Edward Allen, Member.

OREGON: OLCC Commission Approves Permanent Rules for Curbside Delivery

Continues social distancing approach to prevent spread of Covid-19

OMMP cardholder daily purchase increased

Marijuana license stipulated settlements approved

OREGON:

At its regular monthly meeting on September 11, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved permanent rules allowing licensed recreational marijuana retailers to continue curbside delivery transactions, and increased the marijuana flower purchase amount for OMMP cardholders and caregivers. The Commission also approved ten marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic started, the OLCC approved temporary rules designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The change encouraged social distancing by allowing licensed marijuana retailers to conduct limited transactions outside but close to their physical location. Under the permanent rule licensed retailers can continue to take orders and deliver product to a person outside the store and within 150 feet of the retailer’s licensed premises.

The Commission believes this has proven to be an effective approach to limiting interactions and exposure to COVID. Although this rule is being made permanent due to the pandemic, commission staff will revisit this rule at a later date.

Commissioners also approved continuing the daily purchase limits for OMMP cardholders and caregivers that were approved in temporary rule on March 22, 2020. OMMP cardholders and caregivers will continue to be able to purchase up to 24 ounces per day and no more than 32 ounces per month.

The permanent rules take effect September 18, 2020.

The Commission also ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

Green Valley Wellness in Talent will pay a fine of $4,950 OR serve a 30-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation.

Licensee is: Green Valley Wellness, LLC; P&M Holdings, LLC; Peter Gross, Member; Michael Monarch, Member.

Ahanu Yates; permitee will serve a 30-day marijuana worker permit suspension or pay a $750 fine.

Crystal O’Connell; permitee will serve a 30-day marijuana worker permit suspension or pay a $750 fine.

Juliet King; permitee will serve a 30-day marijuana worker permit suspension or pay a $750 fine.

Tyler Kinert; permitee will serve a 30-day marijuana worker permit suspension or pay a $750 fine.

Heiple L3 will pay a fine of $1,155 OR serve a seven-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Heiple L3, LLC; William Ng, Member.

Yachats Cannabis Company in Yachats will pay a fine of $1,155 OR serve a 7-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Yachats Cannabis Company, LLC; Aaron Bishop, Member; Kati Bishop, Member.

Dark Star Productions will pay a fine of $8,085 OR serve a 49-day recreational marijuana wholesaler license suspension for three violations.

Licensees are: Dark Star Productions, LLC; Kinyon Case, Member; Michelle Case, Member; Diania Turner, Member; Kacie Hersh, Member.

Lucky Lion/Dutch Alchemy in Eugene will pay a fine of $4,950 AND serve a two-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension, OR serve a 32-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Dutch Alchemy, LLC; Hilltop Consulting, Inc., Member; Jake Hill, President, Director, Stockholder; Jacqueline Hill, Secretary, Treasurer, Stockholder.

Greenhill Cannabis Farms will surrender its recreational marijuana producer licenseAND each licensee agrees to accept a letter of reprimand for six violations.

Licensees are: Greenhill Cannabis Farms, LLC; Joshua McNamara, Member.