Audio From Oregon Liquor Control Commission Meeting On Vaping Rules

OREGON: Special Oregon Liquor Control Commission Meeting Audio from October 11, 2019: Discussion of Vaping Rules.OLCC Special Meeting Notes

Friday, October 11, 2019


Staff presentation of the issues and 
Commissioners discussion and decision of vaping rules.

For more information, contact: 503-872-5006 / 1-800-452-6522

Commission Meeting Calendar

OHA, OLCC Ban Flavored Vaping Sales, Including Online


OREGON: The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission today filed temporary rules that put into effect Gov. Kate Brown’s Oct. 4 executive order banning all flavored vaping product sales in the state.

The temporary rules, which will remain in effect for six months starting Oct. 15, prohibit the sale of all flavored vaping products—including online sales—to consumers in Oregon.

The ban covers all tobacco and cannabis (marijuana and hemp) vaping products that contain natural or artificial flavors including, but not limited to, chocolate, coffee, cocoa, menthol, mint, wintergreen, vanilla, honey, coconut, licorice, nuts, fruit, any candy, dessert, alcoholic or non‐alcoholic beverage, herb or spice. Tobacco‐flavored tobacco or nicotine products, as well as marijuana‐flavored marijuana or THC products that use only marijuana‐derived flavorings, including terpenes, are not included in the ban.

Retailers found violating the temporary rules will receive a warning letter and recommendations on coming into compliance. Continued violations could result in civil penalties of up to $500 per day, per violation. In addition, cannabis. In addition, cannabis retailers or processors could face violations up to and including cancellation of their license. Additional components of vaping products could be banned in the future. The Governor’s executive order directs OHA and OLCC to “take immediate action and adopt additional emergency rules” to prohibit any chemical or contaminant found to have caused or contributed to vaping‐associated lung injuries being investigated in Oregon and 48 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are nine cases of this illness in Oregon, including two deaths. OHA and OLCC officials say the temporary rules filed today are significant steps toward stemming the well‐documented tide of e‐cigarette use and vaping by youth, as well as keeping products that may expose people to unsafe chemicals and other contaminants off store shelves. Among Oregon high school students who use e‐cigarettes exclusively, nearly 90% use flavored e‐cigarette products, OHA found.

And there is strong evidence that e-cigarettes increase youth nicotine addiction and increase the risk that youth will start using combustible tobacco such as cigarettes. “We have been warning Oregonians about the health effects of these products before this current outbreak of serious lung injury added more evidence of the dangers of vaping,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist. “These rules stop the sale of a potentially dangerous product, and they’re part of a comprehensive approach to curbing youth vaping and additional cases of vaping‐associated lung injuries.”

He points to additional directives in the Governor’s executive order that call on OHA and OLCC to develop consumer warnings for THC and non‐THC products; expand easy access to FDA‐approved cessation resources; implement a statewide prevention and education campaign; and submit legislative proposals with long‐ term solutions to reduce public health harms from vaping.

The temporary rules affect not only OLCC recreational marijuana licensed retailers and processors, but also alcohol licensees that sell nicotine vaping products, including retailers that sell beer and wine, bars and taverns, and liquor store agents. The OLCC said the flavor ban is just the latest step in its evolution from focusing on public safety to an agency with an equivalent focus on consumer protection. Through increased review of products sold in the OLCC‐licensed retail market and the development of testing capacity, the OLCC will continue to work to refine consumer product disclosure.

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“This Commission is working very hard to ensure the cannabis industry can grow, thrive and compete in the Oregon marketplace,” said Paul Rosenbaum, chair of the OLCC. “We are doing so with a clear focus on the integrity of the marketplace for businesses, consumers and public safety. However, it is our overwhelming responsibility to protect public health and our consumers from undue risk. This agency’s rapid and nimble action to implement the Governor’s executive order is exactly why regulated cannabis will always be a superior consumer choice over illegal markets.” Additional rules were filed earlier this week. On Wednesday, OHA filed temporary rules that require health care providers to report hospitalizations and deaths due to “vaping‐associated lung injury.” Physicians have long had to report “uncommon illness of potential public health significance,” but the new rules are intended to reduce confusion by specifically naming this new lung illness as reportable by Oregon law to public health agencies. Due to the ongoing investigation of vaping‐associated lung injuries, OHA health officials continue to recommend people stop vaping immediately.

Those experiencing symptoms of the illnesses, such as shortness of breath, cough or chest pain should immediately seek medical attention. Those needing help quitting vaping cannabis and nicotine can take advantage of a variety of cessation services, including the Oregon Quit Line, Truth Initiative, Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Helpline, and SAMHSA’s National Helpline.

Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Growers Prepare for Tracking

OHA & OLCC Holding Information Sessions across the State

OREGON:  This summer approximately 2,000 medical marijuana growers will need to start using Oregon’s Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) to ensure the marijuana they grow for patients is tracked and reported.  This week the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) launched a series of information sessions and workshops to help growers registered with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) begin the sign-up process to use CTS.

Oregon Senate Bill 1544, enacted during the 2018 legislative session, requires all OMMP medical marijuana grow sites with three or more patients to use CTS tracking, on or before July 1, 2018.  OMMP registered processors and dispensaries are also required to start using CTS by the July 1st deadline.

More than 1800 licensees in Oregon’s Recreational Marijuana system are already using the CTS, which tracks marijuana and marijuana products from seed to sale.  OHA and OLCC are holding a series of information sessions and workshops around Oregon to help OMMP registrants understand the tracking and reporting requirements, and learn how to use the CTS. 

OHA identified about 2,000 OMMP registered grow sites, where there are three or more patients registered at the grow site address.  Under SB 1544 medical marijuana grow sites limited to two or fewer growers and two or fewer patients are exempt from using CTS.  

The first step for a grow site required to use CTS is to designate one grower at the grow site address as the grow site administrator (GSA).  OHA is conducting a series of community outreach sessions for registered medical growers to help them understand reporting and tracking requirements for all grow sites.

In a second and separate series of meetings, OHA and OLCC will provide registered medical growers, processors, and dispensaries information on the requirements for using CTS.  Also, the State’s CTS provider, Metrc will provide a workshop for the OMMP registrants explaining how to use the CTS.

GSAs will be allowed to sell up to 20 pounds of marijuana into the OLCC regulated recreational marijuana system in a 12 month period.  However, the GSAs must provide proof of legal access to water before the marijuana can be sold into the OLCC market.  This sell-in option applies to a grow site as a whole, so a grow site with four growers would only be allowed to sell a total of 20 pounds into the recreational market, not 80 pounds.

In July 2018, the OLCC will begin auditing OMMP grow sites, processors, and dispensaries subject to tracking in CTS.  Later in 2018 OLCC inspectors will begin visiting OMMP grow sites required to use CTS to verify CTS tracking information, check to make sure CTS is being used properly, and look for any other violations.  However, because OHA regulates the OMMP program, OHA will determine any enforcement based on investigations conducted by OLCC. 

OHA will hold its GSA information meetings in Portland & Albany on May 4, Salemon May 8, Portland and Tillamook on May 10, Portland on May 11, Madras on May 14, Grants Pass on May 16 & 17 Webinars will be held for those that are unable to attend a session in person. More information and registration information can be found on the OHA OMMP website under the section “Informational Workshop Sessions.” 

The combined OHA & OLCC information sessions and workshops will be held in Portland on May 8 and 9, in Grants Pass on May 23, in Ashland on May 24, in Eugene on May 31, in Newport on June 1, in Roseburg on June 7, and Sunriver on June 12 Additional details and registration information can be found on the OLCC Eventbrite page.

Oregon Health Authority To Change Testing Standards For Marijuana Products

OREGON:  The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced today it is modifying testing standards for medical and recreational marijuana products with new, temporary rules that balance testing costs for the marijuana industry with public health protection for consumers.

Governor Kate Brown requested agencies to develop the temporary rules so producers and processors can test fewer samples, which is expected to lower costs and create a more efficient process. The temporary rules take effect Friday, Dec. 2.
OHA is responsible for adopting testing standards for marijuana products that are necessary to protect public health and safety. These standards must take into account how the costs of testing will affect the cost to marijuana consumers.
Highlights of the temporary rules:
Replaces process validation with control study
  • ​Cuts three process validation tests to one control study.
  • A processor with a process lot that passes one control study can combine samples into one composite sample, plus a field duplicate for testing, for one year, unless the manufacturing of the product changes.
Removes alcohol-based solvents from testing requirement
  • Butanol, propanol and ethanol are removed from solvent analyte list.
Combines some batches for testing
  • Samples from multiple batches may be combined for the purposes of testing for THC and CBD if the batches are the same strain.
  • Samples from multiple batches, even if different strains, may be combined for the purposes of testing for pesticides if the total weight of the batches does not exceed 10 pounds.
Changes variance for potency testing of edibles
  • Increases the amount of homogeneity variance in edible products to plus five percent (+ 5%).
Changes labeling for potency
  • The THC and CDB amount required to be on a label must be within plus or minus five percent of the value calculated by the laboratory.
Since OHA permanent testing rules became enforceable on Oct. 1, 2016, the marijuana industry has reported to regulating authorities that testing costs are driving up consumer prices, creating product shortages, and causing some processors to temporarily cease operations and furlough employees.
“The Governor has been clear about the importance of the marijuana industry to Oregon’s economy,” said Jeff Rhoades, marijuana policy adviser, Office of Governor Kate Brown. “This approach keeps Oregonians employed, prevents marijuana product from slipping back into the illegal market, and continues to protect public health and safety.”
Oregon labs have notified OHA of a total of 307 samples taken from marijuana products—from dried flower to extracts—that failed for either pesticides, solvents or both since Oct. 1, 2016.
Andre Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program at OHA, says he’s confident the temporary emergency rules will immediately alleviate some of the regulatory burden on the industry while still ensuring that cannabis is reasonably safe for consumers and patients.
“OHA understood the difficult situation that cannabis producers and growers were in with regard to the authority’s Oct 1. testing regulations,” Ourso said. “OHA looks forward to working with the Governor’s Office and its sister agencies in developing permanent testing rules in the near future that protect the public from harmful substances, such as illegal pesticides, yet allow for the cannabis industry to succeed in a robust regulatory environment.”