OLCC Changes Name, Agency Stays Focused On Same Mission

Now known as Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission

OREGON:  On Monday, August 2nd, 2021, the OLCC became the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, dropping the word “Control” that had defined the agency’s original post-Prohibition mission. Previously referred to as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency began regulating recreational marijuana after voters approved Measure 91 in November, 2014.

This change comes five years after voters passed Measure 91 which directed the agency to establish a framework for regulating Oregon’s recreational marijuana marketplace. While the change updates the agency’s name to better reflect its mission, the OLCC acronym will remain the same.

“The industries we regulate matter, they matter a lot to the state of Oregon’s economy,” said Paul Rosenbaum, Chair of the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission. “The cannabis industry in Oregon has become a billion dollar business and changing our agency name reflects our role in generating revenue to fund state programs.”

Newly issued alcohol and marijuana licenses, and alcohol server and marijuana worker permits, will be modified to include the new name and logo. Existing versions of these official documents continue to be valid with the agency’s previous name and logo, and will be replaced when the licensee or permit holder renews them.

The OLCC will make minor public facing adjustments to reflect the name change; the modifications will have a minimal cost. Exterior signage at OLCC headquarters and regional offices will gradually be brought up-to-date. Documents on the agency website will continue to be updated with the new OLCC logo. The agency will deplete its existing stock of paper documents branded with the agency’s old name and logo; these items will be replenished with the new name and logo when existing supplies are exhausted.

The OLCC was originally created in 1933, in the wake of national alcohol prohibition being repealed by the adoption of the 21st amendment to the US Constitution. At that time, America was laboring to rise out of the “Great Depression” and the world stage was being set for the start of World War II. In 1933, Oregon’s Liquor Control Act became law and directed the OLCC to sell distilled spirits and to license businesses to sell beer and wine.

Agency name changes occur as their mission evolves; however, it’s not common. According to information provided by the State Library of Oregon, during the past 30 years there have been about 10 Oregon agencies that have changed their name. The most recent change was when the State Library itself changed its name in 2017 to clarify that it wasn’t affiliated with Oregon State University.

Now 88 years later, the OLCCs mission has grown to include managing compliance with Oregon’s Bottle Bill, marijuana regulation and oversight of specific aspects of the state’s hemp market. Historically, the OLCC has and continues to play a vital role generating funding for schools, public safety and health programs. In recent years, combined sales from its alcohol and marijuana programs contribute $400 million annually to those vital programs. The success of Oregon’s cannabis market can be measured in the adult-use marijuana market becoming a $1 billion industry in 2020 and projected to continue at that level in 2021.

While establishing a regulated cannabis market has required the investment of financial and personnel resources, the agency has remained committed to supporting bars and restaurants through sensible upgrades to Oregon’s alcohol regulatory environment balanced with public safety protections.

“Our name may have changed, but our mission to serve the businesses we license, the consumers we protect, and the communities we support by generating revenue for the state – all of those things remain the same,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “For the next two years we’re going to concentrate on helping the cannabis and hospitality industries re-establish and grow their business, while ensuring revenue stability for the state. That’s the immediate focus of the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission.

The COVID-19 pandemic uniquely challenged Oregon’s hospitality industry requiring businesses and the agency to innovate to keep businesses open, while constrained by public health guidelines designed to limit the spread of the virus. Agency staff worked directly with licensees, public safety groups and elected officials to find solutions for long-standing challenges. This included: creating an option for cocktails-to-go, while modifying rules to allow for curbside delivery, and enabling businesses to expand outdoor seating.

During the remainder of 2021, the OLCC will be working through other legislative changes to help the alcohol and cannabis industries build back their business. This will include reviewing existing policies and working with partners to cut red-tape and find operational efficiencies while continuing to generate vital revenue for the state of Oregon.

Licensees and others doing business with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission should still make their payments out to the “OLCC.” So even as the OLCC continues to evolve to better serve Oregon, the acronym will remain the same.

Segra International Completes First Export of Cannabis Plantlets from Canada to the USA

CANADA: Segra International Corp, a leading cannabis agriculture technology company, is pleased to announce its first successful export of Verified Segra Stock™ Cannabis plantlets to the Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC), one of the first groups in the USA to receive approval from the DEA to cultivate Cannabis for scientific research purposes.

This shipment marks a tremendous milestone in the evolution of the US cannabis industry, as it represents one of the first imports of live Cannabis plants to a federally licensed US cultivator. In recent months, the DEA has issued a select number of licenses to several groups in the US to allow for the cultivation of Cannabis for scientific research purposes. BRC, based in California, is among the first companies granted a license and is now operational. Segra’s Verified Segra Stock™ plantlets will provide BRC with standardized and validated starting materials produced through plant tissue culture, and backed by extensive agronomic data and Cannabis plant pathogen screening.

BRC works with research groups studying Cannabis and Cannabis flower to understand the plant in a scientific and federally regulated environment. Under the federal licensing regime, BRC is only allowed to source genetics and starting material from DEA-compliant or federally legal sources.

“Segra’s Verified Segra Stock™ guarantee means our plantlets are DNA fingerprinted and pathogen-free with virtually no risk of pathogen introduction to the receiving grow facility.

Starting with this input material is critical to effectively grow replicable crops, something highly valued by researchers who are studying the finished product of the Cannabis plant and its derivatives,” said Jamie Blundell, CEO of Segra International. “Furthermore, Segra’s VNTR DNA Fingerprinting technology allows BRC to order plantlets and cultivars with certainty, knowing they are receiving the same input material with each shipment. The application of VNTR DNA fingerprinting technology can be used throughout the supply chain for track and trace purposes, from plantlet to flower, translating this certainty to researchers who can study the same product repeatedly.”

“At BRC, we are focused on developing federally compliant active pharmaceutical ingredients for federally compliant researchers examining the therapeutic effects of cannabis,” said George Hodgin, CEO of Biopharmaceutical Research Company. “We’re fortunate to be working with Segra to offer our clients a wide range of clean, high-quality Cannabis of specific chemical expressions and flower types to help them better understand the applications of the Cannabis plant.”

Learn more about Segra’s services and premium cultivars by viewing the 2021 Cultivar and Services Catalogue.

 

 

Governor Northam Announces Support for Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana in Virginia

Governor says, “The time has come to legalize marijuana in our Commonwealth, and Virginia will get this right.”

VIRGINIA:  Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he will introduce and support legislation to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The announcement comes as the Northam Administration prepares to release a report on the impact of legalizing adult-use marijuana, which was compiled with robust input from government officials, policy experts, healthcare professionals, and community leaders.

“It’s time to legalize marijuana in Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “Our Commonwealth has an opportunity to be the first state in the South to take this step, and we will lead with a focus on equity, public health, and public safety. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to get this right.”

The Northam Administration is working closely with lawmakers to finalize legislation in advance of the 2021 General Assembly session. Today, Governor Northam made clear that any legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana will need to address the following five principles.

  • Social equity, racial equity, and economic equity. Marijuana prohibition has historically been based in discrimination, and the impact of criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities as result. A report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) issued today found that Black Virginians are arrested and convicted for marijuana use at more than three times the rate of white Virginians. Legislation should focus on undoing these harms by including initiatives such as social equity license programs, access to capital, community reinvestment, and sealing or expunging records of past marijuana-related convictions.
  • Public health. Legislation should include substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities.
  • Protections for young people. As a pediatrician, Governor Northam will require any legislation include protections for Virginia’s youth, including age limits, mandatory ID checks, and education campaigns.
  • Upholding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act. Legislation should be aligned with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act prohibiting indoor tobacco use, which Governor Northam championed as a state Senator.
  • Data collection. Legislation should ensure Virginia collects appropriate and ongoing information on safety, health, and equity.

In 2020, Governor Northam signed legislation that decriminalized simple marijuana possession in Virginia. The legislation also required the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Finance, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security to convene a Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group to study the impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana and report the recommendations of the work group to the General Assembly and the Governor by November 30, 2020.

OLCC Streamlining Marijuana License Applications

Temporary Rule Changes

OREGON:  On October 15, 2020, the Commission adopted temporary rules intended to provide relief to the industry and allowing OLCC greater flexibility in the processing of marijuana license applications. The main changes implemented in these temporary rules are:

  • Revising the definition of who needs to be identified as an “applicant” for the license, including raising the threshold from the 10% to 20% ownership.
  • Changing license application requirements, including reducing the amount of information and documentation which was previously required.
  • Modifying when OLCC may request fingerprints for a background check to once per license year, rather than specifically in conjunction with a renewal application.
  • Applicants can change the location of their proposed licensed premises prior to licensure, except for Producers who are prohibited by law from making that type of change until January 2022.
  • Changes to notification and pre-approval requirements when licensees make changes to business structures or financial interests (see below).
  • Simplified paperwork requirements for Producer propagation endorsement and medically designated canopy registration.

In the coming months, the Commission will go through a permanent rulemaking process to finalize the rules, making adjustments based on feedback from the industry and other stakeholders. Anyone wanting to provide comment or input on proposed rules should subscribe to OLCC’s email updates to stay apprised of the most recent activities, including dates and deadlines for public comment.

 

License Application Streamlining

In light of the current licensing backlog, Commission staff have been developing a comprehensive strategy to improve the processing time frame for all licensing actions. The agency believes that implementing the flexibility afforded by this temporary rule package and making internal process adjustments will significantly reduce the time it takes staff to evaluate each license application. The goal is to make the entire licensing process more efficient, timely, and predictable.

There are three main features that characterize the agency’s new streamlined approach to licensing:

  1. Collecting fewer documents as part of the license application.
  2. Relying on the applicant’s attestation that they have provided complete and accurate information.
  3. Giving the applicant the responsibility for knowing and understanding the laws and rules around marijuana licenses, and ensuring that their business will comply with those rules.

As part of the streamlining process, OLCC will ask applicants to complete updated paperwork which aligns with the temporary rule. We recognize that many applicants have already filled out and submitted paperwork for the license application, but the new set of paperwork is straightforward and will significantly reduce the time it takes OLCC staff to evaluate the license application.

Under the streamlined licensing process, a complete application will typically include:

  • An Application Packet for the appropriate license type. These forms have been streamlined to collect the minimum necessary amount of information. They also now include attestations that OLCC staff will rely on to be accurate when determining whether a license can be issued.
  • A Marijuana Applicant Questionnaire, along with an Individual History form for each individual who qualifies as an “applicant” for the license. The Applicant Questionnaire replaces all of the business structure forms that OLCC has historically collected. OLCC license investigators will no longer routinely collect detailed paperwork describing the structure and ownership of the business and analyze that information to determine which individuals and legal entities are “applicants.” Instead, it is the responsibility of the business to completely and accurately identify all “applicants.” The investigation process will not routinely consider other persons with a “financial interest,” although OLCC retains the authority to do so if necessary.
  • A map or sketch of the proposed premises and a floor plan for any indoor areas. New Premises Map Instructions are available that identify what information needs to be included on the map and floor plan. OLCC staff will rely on the applicant’s attestation that the map and floor plan(s) are complete and accurate.
  • A Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS). This requirement has not changed. An application must include this form, signed by the local government where the proposed premises is located, showing that the proposed license type is not a prohibited use at the proposed premises.

OLCC staff will continue to evaluate each applicant’s relevant criminal history and their record of compliance when previously licensed before issuing a license.

If an applicant has previously submitted fingerprints for a background check with another marijuana license application, OLCC staff will use the results of that license investigation rather than having the person submit new fingerprints. If an applicant has not previously submitted fingerprints, they will need to do so before the application is assigned to a license investigator.

OLCC will continue to contact applicants to confirm that they are prepared to complete the licensing process within 60 days before assigning them to a license investigator. As part of this contact, OLCC staff will provide instructions for applicants to submit fingerprints.  Do not submit fingerprints until you have received these instructions from OLCC staff.

The licensing timelines established in OAR 845-025-1135 still apply:

  • An applicant must complete the application process within 60 calendar days of being contacted by their license investigator.
    • If an applicant does not complete the process in 60 days and has not previously been in a “hold” status, the OLCC will un-assign the application and place it on hold until the Commission is able to reassign it; the reassignment will NOT take place until after other applications have been processed. Due to the volume of other license actions waiting to be processed, there could be a significant wait time before the OLCC reassigns the application.
    • If an applicant does not complete the process in 60 days and has previously been in a “hold” status, the application will be deemed incomplete and inactivated.

 

Metrc Awarded Oklahoma Seed To Sale Contract

OKLAHOMA: The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has signed a contract with Metrc, a national company in 14 states, for the implementation of a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system. The contract creates a system to track marijuana plants and products from a plant’s growth stage through sale to patients. It serves as part of OMMA’s larger efforts to ensure accountability and safety within the state’s medical marijuana industry.

OSDH Names Twelve Member Medical Marijuana Food Safety Standards Board –

OMMA Interim Director Dr. Kelly Williams said “The seed-to-sale system will greatly expand our compliance capabilities and improve the effectiveness and speed of any future recall efforts. It will also allow us to detect unusual patterns that may indicate product diversion.”

Metrc offers integration features with many seed-to-sale software systems used at an individual-level by licensees, and all commercial licensees in the state will be required to either integrate with or input their information into the state’s seed-to-sale system.

Dr. Williams added, “We know that businesses will have many questions in the coming weeks, and we will answer them as quickly as possible.” OMMA will also keep the public updated as the system is implemented. It is expected to take up to six months.

Gov. Polis Releases Statement On Passage Of Continuing Resolution Including Farm Bill & Hemp Pilot Program Extension

COLORADO:  Gov. Jared Polis released the following statement on the final passage of the Federal Continuing Resolution including an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill which also includes the Hemp Pilot Program.

“We worked closely with our federal delegation to ensure this provision to extend the 2014 Farm Bill and the hemp act was included in this Continuing Resolution. Colorado is a national leader in the hemp industry and I’m glad to see this bill be signed into law as it gives our farmers and ranchers from the Eastern Plains, to the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and everywhere in between more support, and gives Colorado more time to work with the USDA on our state’s hemp framework. This is a great step forward and we will continue working to grow the industry in Colorado.”

NJ Department Of Health Issues Permit To Grow Medical Marijuana

NEW JERSEY: The New Jersey Department of Health issued last month a permit to Justice Grown in Ewing to begin growing medical marijuana. The permit was issued after a comprehensive review including several site inspections, background checks of its corporate officers and a review of its security operations and cultivation facility.

“As our program continues to grow, the Department wants to ensure that we also continue to increase access for all patients,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “This new permit brings the total number of operational medical marijuana cultivation sites in the state to 12.”

Justice Grown is the last Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) to receive a cultivation permit among the awards made by the Division of Medicinal Marijuana in December 2018. Earlier this year, the Division issued cultivation permits to Verano in Readington, MPX NJ in Pleasantville, TerrAscend in Boonton Township, and Columbia Care NJ in Vineland.

Once Justice Grown receives its permit to dispense, the Division will notify the patients and caregivers by email of the opening date.  Justice Grown’s dispensary will also be located in Ewing.

There are nine ATCs currently dispensing medical marijuana: Greenleaf Compassion Center of Montclair, Compassionate Care Foundation of Egg Harbor, Garden State Dispensary of Woodbridge and Union Township, Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center of Cranbury, Curaleaf NJ, Inc. in Bellmawr, Harmony Dispensary in Secaucus and Rise in Paterson and Compassionate Care Foundation of Atlantic City.

Program participation continues to grow. There are now 75,468 patients, 2,949 caregivers and 1,149 physicians participating in the program.

Patients and caregivers can visit the Division’s website if they choose to change their preferred ATC. The change can also be made by calling the Customer Service Unit of the Division of Medicinal Marijuana at 844-419-9712 and does not require changing ID cards.

Patients can refer to the FAQ section of the Division of Medicinal Marijuana website for additional information. Active physicians enrolled in the program are listed by county and medical specialty.

New Jersey residents interested in registering for Medicinal Marijuana can click here.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram@njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

For more information, visit our homepage at nj.gov/health.

Sanjay Gupta Gives Late Night Comedians Some Great Material (VIDEOS)

Dr. Sanjay Gupta came out in favor of marijuana last week, bringing America to the tipping point for marijuana legal reform in America.  The MJ News Network is expecting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make a major announcement later this week.  Our resident psychic and staff magician, Doctor Mentallo, is predicting the AG will announce that marijuana will no longer be classified as the most dangerous drug in America under the Controlled Substances Act. Stay tuned to this network to see our own good doctor is indeed correct. [Read more…]