OLCC Approves Marijuana Licensee Stipulated Settlements

License Surrender for Exceeding Daily Purchase Limits

Commissioners Air Concerns about Marijuana Licensees with Habitual Bad Behavior

OREGON: At its monthly meeting on October 17, 2019 the Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved six marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.  The Commission also held a work session to review actions it could take to strengthen fines and penalties for recreational marijuana licensees and individuals who have a Marijuana Worker Permit.

During its review of the stipulated settlements Commissioners aired concerns that the settlements might appear to be too lenient on licensees that continuously fail to follow the rules.  The Commission wants to make sure that licensees charged with multiple violations take the charges seriously.

“If it’s a bad actor they need to get the message, pay the penalty for the violation and then don’t do it again” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC Chair.  “We don’t want to put anybody out of business, we want to help you be successful, but if you’re a bad actor, we’re going to kick you out of the system.”

Chair Rosenbaum indicated he would continue to publicly scrutinize the stipulated settlements during Commission meetings to keep the industry on alert that the Commission might seek stiffer penalties going forward.

One of the settlement agreements is linked to the Commission’s decision to temporarily reduce daily purchase limits for Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholders in August, 2018.  The OLCC had detected a pattern of unusual purchase activity connected to potential misuse of OMMP cards.  Gras Cannabis in Portland was one of the retailers implicated in the prohibited activity, was subsequently found to be in violation of OLCC rules.

“The administrative hearings process is methodical and certain,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director.  “Even though this case started last summer (2018), the end result is we’ve removed a bad actor from Oregon’s regulated marijuana system.  We don’t have tolerance for this kind of behavior and licensees should know the clock eventually runs out on those who have no place in our system.”

The Commission approved the following fines and/or marijuana license suspensions, license surrenders, or marijuana worker permit surrender based on stipulated settlements:

Cave Junction Farms* will pay a fine of $3,795 or serve a 23-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Cave Junction Farms, LLC; David Rudoy, Managing Member; Danny Bitar, Member; Jonathan Kohn, Member; Nicholas Bascue, Member.

The Herb Center in Bend will pay a fine of $7,920 or serve a 48-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for three violations.

Licensee is: De Amsterdam; Linda Hopmann, President/Secretary/Tresaurer.

Greenway Farm* will pay a fine of $6,105 AND serve a 25-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension OR serve a 62-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for three violations.

Licensees are: Greenway Farm, LLC; Michael Baggs, Member; Paul Baggs, Member.

Artisan Agriculture* recreational marijuana producer license has expired and the OLCC will not renew it; each licensee will receive a letter of reprimand.  OLCC staff had proposed license cancellation and seizure and destruction of any remaining product on the licensed premises for six violations.

Licensees are: Green Factory, LLC; Jessica Cheung, Managing Member, Yingyang Ma, Member.

Gras Cannabis in Portland will surrender its recreational marijuana retailer license for three violations, and each licensee will receive a letter of reprimand.

Licensees are: Gras on 7th, Inc.; Joseph Mangione, Sr., President/Director/Stakeholder; Marilyn Neville, Secretary.

Deanz Greenz in Portland will pay a fine of $3,795 or serve a 23-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Bite One”s Lip, LLC; Dean Brundidge, Member; Andrew Weitz, Member.

Cashing In On Cannabis: CannaCon’s Banking Panel

By Sahar Ayinehsazian

Since Washington state legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, recreational cannabis sales have totaled over $1 billion, translating to more than $250 million collected in new taxes. Such substantial sales, however, have also brought problems for licensees in the form of cash.

Because of marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I substance, financial institutions continue to deny banking services to state licensed marijuana businesses. Consequently, these businesses have been forced to deal in cash and suffer the sometimes lethal consequences.

There are, however, licensed marijuana businesses who have broken free from cash with the help of third party platforms like PayQwick. Licensed marijuana businesses can now easily access regular businesses bank accounts, cash management and bill pay services and the ability to send and receive electronic payments. These businesses also enjoy the added benefit of compliance services, which keep them operating in line with all of the state’s regulations.

To learn how to break free from cash, marijuana business owners and those considering the marijuana industry can attend CannaCon’s banking panel, Cashing In On Cannabis – Compliance, Banking and Cash Management” on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 11:30 am in seminar room two. Moderated by MJBA CEO and Co-Founder David Rheins, the panel features industry experts Kenneth Berke, Christine Masse, John Vardaman and Myles Khan.

Ken Berke is the Co-Founder and CEO of PayQwick, a compliance, cash management and electronic payment processing platform that has facilitated regular business bank accounts for over 200 licensed marijuana businesses throughout Washington. He is also an attorney with 29 years of experience and has advocated for the legal marijuana industry before regulators throughout the U.S.

Christine Masse is a partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, where she leads the government and regulatory affairs practice group and specializes in representing businesses in highly regulated industries with their transactional, regulatory, and public policy needs. She also leads the firm’s tribal team, providing counsel to various Northwest Native American tribes and organizations on matters such as marijuana.

Myles Harlow Kahn is a legal officer at Foundry Law. His practice focuses on corporate, entertainment, intellectual property, business development, cannabis and regulatory matters. He is also the owner of Buddy’s in Renton, one of Washington’s most prominent marijuana retailers.

John Vardaman is Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Hypur, makers of technology enabling financial institutions to service cash-intensive businesses in accordance with legal compliance requirements. He helped author the Cole Memorandum, the DOJ document outlining how financial institutions can bank marijuana businesses in states where cannabis has been legalized.

13 Challenges Filed Over Medical Marijuana Licenses

FLORIDA: Florida’s Department of Health has received 13 administrative challenges over the selection of nurseries to grow medical marijuana in the state.

An administrative challenge has been filed in all five regions. Redland Nursery filed challenges over the awarding of licenses in two regions.

The Office of Compassionate Care named the five nurseries Nov. 23. In order to qualify, nurseries had to have been in business in Florida for at least 30 years and grown a minimum of 400,000 plants at the time of the application.