OLCC Notice of Public Hearing

2021 Marijuana Bill and Technical Package

10:00 AM
December 20, 2021

Location: Virtual

Presiding Officer:
Madeline Kane
Phone: 503-872-5081
Email: olcc.rulemaking@oregon.gov

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact

Legislation that passed during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session requires OLCC to amend and adopt rule language, correct technical errors in the rules, and update requirements to ensure continued viable operation of the regulated marijuana program. During the 2021 Regular Session, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bills 3000 and 2519, and Senate Bills 408 and 96. These bills required changes in the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s administrative rules. Listed below are the bills which passed and the rules that were impacted.

To listen to, or participate in this Public Hearing please call: 1 (571) 317-3112; enter access code: 188-507-197#

All written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

For more information, contact:  Madeline Kane, 503-872-5081. Email: olcc.rulemaking@oregon.gov

OLCC Fines Recreational Marijuana Licensee

Processor deliberately violated packaging and labeling laws

Southern Oregon legislators update Commission on illegal cannabis activity

Criminal cartels still suspected of openly operating in Josephine & Jackson counties

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission unanimously agreed to fine a Portland based recreational marijuana processor $100,000 for deliberately sidestepping packaging and labeling rules designed to protect consumers. At its regularly scheduled meeting on October 21, 2021, Commissioners also heard from southern Oregon legislators who remain alarmed by continued illegal cannabis commerce linked to criminal cartels operating in Jackson and Josephine counties. The Commission also approved three stipulated settlements with recreational marijuana licensees.

OLCC’s six commissioners voted to uphold the decision of an Oregon Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who found Luminous Botanicals sold small vials of a marijuana-derived THC tincture even though it was out of compliance with OLCC rules. OLCC staff determined that the item’s labels were not properly affixed and could fall off when used by a consumer. These unlabeled vials, with no markings indicating their contents to be marijuana, could inadvertently be used by an unsuspecting consumer, and thus posed a public safety issue.

“Small vials of marijuana product don’t provide any distinction on whether or not the product is from the legal or illegal market,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. “That’s what this was about.”

The trial-sized vial of “Universal Cannabis Tonic” was labeled as having less than an ounce of the marijuana THC containing product, or enough for two servings. However Luminous Botanicals refused to make their labels compliant with OLCC packaging and labeling rules by properly labeling the thumb-sized vial.

OLCC staff worked with Luminous Botanicals for more than a year to try to help the licensee devise a compatible solution. But during this time period Luminous Botanicals continued to sell products that violated OLCC packaging and labeling rules.

Ultimately the OLCC charged Luminous Botanicals with multiple violations – each sale of the trial-sized vial constituted a violation. The OLCC offered to settle the case for $30,000, instead of having to pay the maximum $100,000 penalty. Without the civil penalty cap the proposed violations would have resulted in a proposed penalty of millions of dollars. Eventually the issue ended up before an ALJ who heard the case in February, 2021; in August, 2021 the ALJ issued a ruling upholding the OLCC’s findings.

Arguing before the Commission, Luminous’ legal counsel said that the licensee had been exemplary in their dealings with the OLCC, had misunderstood the rules and had made an innocent error, and deserved leniency in the form of a warning, instead of a monetary penalty. The Commission decided otherwise.

This past summer, in response to public outcry, the OLCC coordinated with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, other state and local agencies, and southern Oregon law enforcement in Operation Table Rock to crack down on illegal cannabis producers masquerading as legitimate hemp or marijuana producers.

Operation Table Rock confirmed widely held suspicions about the illegal activity, but a bipartisan trio of southern Oregon lawmakers shared their lingering concerns about the safety of rural residents living near sites of illegal activity, pilfering of public and private water, and the human trafficking of workers at illegal grow sites.

Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) told the Commission that law enforcement is spread so thin there’s little ability to investigate water misuse in the drought stricken area. “Water theft and water storage and water diversion has probably been the biggest unanswered call,” said Morgan.

“We are outgunned and out resourced,” said Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland). According to Golden, Southern Oregon residents fear that criminal cartels will return next year because they’ve found that it’s easy to get away with illegal growing. “It is an all hands on deck situation and we have to secure the resources proportional to this crisis,” he said.

Representative Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) praised the partnership with the OLCC and other state agencies during Operation Table Rock but said additional collaboration was needed to deal with a crisis that hasn’t subsided.

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):

HYDROGANICS will surrender its recreational marijuana producer license for one violation, on the date the transfer of ownership of the business is completed or on January 21, 2022, whichever is earlier.

Licensee is: Nature Based Corporation; Yen Nguyen, President/Stockholder; Men-Truc Nguyen, Secretary/Stockholder.

HIGHLY DISTRIBUTED, a recreational marijuana wholesale licensee will receive a letter of reprimand for two violations.

Licensee is: Highly Distributed, LLC; Jamin Giersbach, Member; Melissa Giersbach, Member.

The Commission approved restrictions to a recreational marijuana producer license for the applicants of FLOWERS CITY. The application includes one individual who made false statements to the Commission.  The license restrictions requires the licensee to prohibit that individual from any involvement in the operation or management of the business, or providing any services to the business, and not be on the licensed premises at any time.

OLCC Issues Recall for Hemp Labeled Product with High THC Levels

Select CBD tincture could impair unsuspecting consumers

Agency inspectors continue to trace cause of mislabeled product

 

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission has issued a mandatory recall for a product labeled as a hemp tincture that can get consumers “high” because the product contains undisclosed levels of THC. Consumers using this mislabeled product may become unexpectedly impaired.

The recall is for an item labeled as a hemp CBD tincture produced by Cura CS, LLC, and sold under its Select brand. The specific batch of this product Select CBD Drops “Broad Spectrum” Unflavored 1000 MG CBD was only available for purchase through OLCC licensed retailers.

The OLCC has notified cannabis retailers about the recall, and has put a hold on the product in the OLCC cannabis tracking system to prevent further sales from OLCC licensed retailers.

The recall affects this specific product produced on May 14, 2021. The OLCC estimates approximately 500 units have been sold starting June 19, 2021 and about 200 units remain in the inventories of OLCC retailers and those items are required to be quarantined.

Customers who have purchased this product can either return it to the OLCC licensed retailer they purchased it from or destroy the product.

Consumers with health-related concerns about this recalled product should contact the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222, or their medical provider.

If consumers have other product related complaints related to this recall they should notify the OLCC at marijuana@oregon.gov and include any information you have, including the consumer’s name and phone number.

 

Rescheduled: OLCC Rules Advisory Committee Meeting

Marijuana Violation Reclassification Rules Package

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
October 20, 2021
(Rescheduled from September 22, 2021)

Location: Virtual

Agenda

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission has initiated the third phase of the violation reclassification project to draft permanent administrative rules that revise the way compliance actions are administered. The proposed amendments in this package align OLCC administrative rule with legislation passed at the 2021 Regular Legislative Session.

Due to COVID-19, we are holding Rules Advisory Committee meetings virtually. Please note that invited committee members and OLCC are the only persons allowed to participate in the discussion. Please be respectful and mute your phone.

To listen to the meeting, dial: 1 (408) 650-3123; Access Code: 603-420-373

OREGON: OLCC Rules Advisory Committee Meeting

Rules Advisory Committee Meeting

Delta-8-THC and Other Artificially-Derived Cannabinoids Package

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Thursday, September 30, 2021

Location: Virtual

Agenda

This past spring the Commission initiated rule-making to address new and unregulated products. The proposed changes to the administrative rules will address Delta-8-THC and other cannabinoids in the OLCC marketplace that are manufactured from hemp or marijuana by chemical reactions including isomerization.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are holding Rules Advisory Committee meetings virtually. Please note that invited committee members and OLCC are the only persons allowed to participate in the discussion. Please be respectful and mute your phone.

To listen to the meeting, dial: 1 (571) 317-3122; Access Code: 932-098-717

 

For more information, contact:
Madeline Kane, 503-872-5081
Email: olcc.rulemaking@oregon.gov

OLCC Commissioners Ratify Stipulated Marijuana Violation Agreement

OREGON: At its monthly meeting August 19, 2021, the Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found on the OLCC website): 

SUNNY RA ACRES, Inc. in Shady Cove will pay a $4,950 fine OR serve a 30-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Sun Breeze, Inc.; Brie Malarkey, President/Director/Stockholder; Jon Cunningham, Secretary/Treasurer/Director/Stockholder.

HIGH COUNTRY ORGANIC FARMS in Estacada will pay a $5,610 fine OR serve a 34-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for four violations.

Licensees are: High Country Organic Farms, LLC; Christopher Kemper, Kelly Morgan, John Meyer Jr, and Rich Meyer, Members.

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*The locations of OLCC marijuana producer, processor and wholesale licensees are exempt from public disclosure under Oregon law.

A copy of the Stipulated Settlement Agreements for Marijuana Violation Cases can be found on the OLCC website, on the Laws & Rules page under the Final Orders section.

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

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.

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.

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.