OLCC Notice of Public Hearing: OAR 845-025-5760 Audit, Compliance, And Random Testing

OLCC

OREGON:  OLCC Notice of Public Hearing.

What: OAR 845-025-5760, Audit, Compliance, and Random Testing

When:  2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday, March 16, 2020

Where: Oregon Liquor Control Commission, 9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland, OR 97222

Public Notice & Proposed Rule Draft

The national outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) has resulted in more than 2,800 hospitalizations and 68 deaths, including 2 deaths in Oregon. At this time neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) have determined the cause of the illness outbreak in Oregon. While studies using cases in other states have identified Vitamin E acetate as one likely cause in those states, there is no evidence of Vitamin E acetate being linked to cases in Oregon and the CDC and FDA have not ruled out other potential causes of the illness outbreak.

This rule is needed to assist the OLCC and OHA in the ongoing investigation of the cause of EVALI cases in Oregon as well as to prevent and respond to potential future outbreaks or risks to public safety due to additives, adulterants, microbiological contamination, heavy metals, or other contaminants.

In addition to the recent EVALI outbreak, undisclosed ingredients and additives have been discovered in marijuana products in violation of Commission rules. These ingredients and additives cause public health and safety issues and decrease transparency for members of the public using these products. These rule amendments will allow the OLCC to sample the products of marijuana licensees to determine whether they contain ingredients or additives. Further, the ability to randomly test acts as a deterrent and discouraging licensees from making marijuana items with illegal or unknown indigents, additives, solvents or pesticides.

Public comment period ends Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 11:55PM

 

 

 

Oregon Health Authority & Oregon Liquor Control Commission Will Hold Press Conference On Temporary Vaping Ban

Agencies Will Explain Temporary Rules & Implementation Process for Banning the Sale of Flavored Nicotine and THC Vaping Products

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will hold a joint press conference Friday, October 11, 2019to discuss the adoption of temporary rules resulting from an Executive Order issued by Oregon Governor Kate Brown to address the vaping health crisis.

Leadership and staff from the OLCC and OHA’s Public Health Division will explain the implications of and the implementation process of their respective temporary rules which establish a temporary ban on the sale of flavored nicotine and THC vaping products.

The press conference will take place approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the OLCC Commission’s special meeting, and will be held in the Commission meeting room at OLCC headquarters in Portland.

There will NOT be a public live audio or video feed from the press conference.

The OLCC special commission meeting will start 11:30 AM.

The OLCC Headquarters is located at: 9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Portland, OR 97222.

 

OLCC Approves Marijuana Licensee Stipulated Settlements

Commission Hears Testimony on National Vaping Illness Problem from Oregon Health Authority Expert

             OLCC

OREGON: At its monthly meeting on September 19, 2019 the Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved three marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.  In addition the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) provided the Commission with an overview of the ongoing national respiratory illness outbreak and public health investigation that has been linked to nicotine and THC vaping products.

OHA is leading Oregon’s public health investigation into the outbreak which has identified four cases, including one fatality.  Dr. Richard Leman, chief medical officer in OHA’s Health Security, Preparedness and Response Program, told the Commission that doctors had been seeing cases of the respiratory illness linked to vaping since June 2019, with the first reports coming from physicians in the Midwest.

Leman said the symptoms associated with this outbreak are similar to other pulmonary illnesses, or lung diseases, such as pneumonia. Health investigators in Oregon are conducting case history interviews with medical experts who may have treated individuals with unexplained cases of lung disease, as well as interviewing the patients already identified as official cases.

Leman indicated that Oregon investigators are looking for common links in the Oregon cases and will continue to share their findings with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is spearheading the analysis of data provided from affected states to identify a common cause.

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

Firehouse Trading Co. in Eugene will pay a fine of $4,950 or serve a 30-day recreational marijuana retail license suspension for one violation.
Licensees are: Firehouse Trading Co., LLC; David Coy, Member/Manager.

Next Generation Nurseries* will pay a fine of $4,950 or serve a 30-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for two violations.
Licensee is: Next Generation Nurseries, LLC; Karen Osovsky, Member.

Nuharvest* will surrender its producer license for four violations, and each licensee will receive a letter of reprimand.
Licensees are: Boundless Technology, LLC; Casey Nugent, Manager; Randall Elkins, Member; Boundless Technology, LLC (CA LLC), Member; Randall Elkins, Member.

 

Oregon Cannabis Industry Survey Predicts $10 Million Tax Revenue Decrease Due To Changes In Testing Protocol

OREGON: Cannabis industry economist Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics and the Oregon Cannabis Business Council today jointly released the results of a survey conducted this November that predicts a $10 million drop in fourth-quarter state tax revenue, a $187.5 million uptick in black-market sales, and layoffs and dispensary closures statewide due to Oregon Health Authority (OHA)’s new testing rules.

“October was a defining, if not catastrophic, month for Oregon’s cannabis industry, which, until then, was growing at a very fast rate,” Whitney said. “OHA’s new testing rules, which very few existing operations can presently comply with, virtually crippled the supply chain of adult-use and medical cannabis, from grower to retailer.”

Deployed on October 1, a change in Oregon Health Authority (OHA)’s testing certification, test limits and enhancement of a banned substances list for Oregon cannabis products resulted in longer test throughput times, a lack of available supply of cannabis products in both the medical and adult use markets, job losses and economic hardship.

The Whitney Economics/OCBC survey, conducted from November 14 to November 30 among 683 Oregon cannabis businesses, indicates:

  • Supply constraints due to the changes in testing protocol in Oregon have significantly impacted the Oregon Cannabis industry
  • On an annualized basis, black market activities have increased a projected $187.5 million due to a combination of higher prices and lower supply
  • Oregon tax revenues are projected to decrease by a minimum of $10.0M in Q4. This is conservative and is likely closer to $15 million – $20 million, as OLCC-licensed outlets are allowed to sell more product to an individual than is currently allowed in medical dispensaries. This was poised to increase sales by 2x to 4x current levels. The OHA rules constrain the industry at a time where there should be exponential growth
  • 22 percent of survey respondents indicated they are going out of business, and a large majority of 
survey participants plan to lay off employees for one to three months starting in fourth quarter 2016

Per survey results, as the new testing rules went into effect, very few laboratories were fully certified by the state regulatory bodies, so thus every medical and adult use business was required to use the certified labs to bring post-October 1 product to market. This created a bottleneck in the supply chain and, as a result, product availability was constrained. Test throughput, originally modeled by regulatory policy analysts to average five days, ended up in the range of 14-21 days, making products scarce. To make matters worse, the expanded testing criteria resulted in more failed tests. Product that was compliant on September 30 was now failing in large numbers for pesticides and other banned substances, as the thresholds for failure were tightened significantly.

Although official failure percentages are not available today, based on inputs from the laboratories themselves, data indicates between 40-60 percent of all submissions failed the enhanced testing standards (although government officials claim it is closer to 20-30 percent).

Given the perfect storm of a bottleneck at test, increased throughput times and a high percentage of test failures, the legal Oregon cannabis market is highly constrained for supply, Whitney said.

“Immediate action by the regulatory body, the OHA, and the Governor’s Office must take place now, before it is too late,” Whitney said. “The industry strongly supports public safety policies, but some reform must be made now that gradually increases standards rather than implementing them retroactively. Otherwise it will create an even larger public policy issue via a massive spike in illicit market sales, which will in turn increase access via black market channels to our youth.”

The survey results can be downloaded here:

Oregon Dispensaries Prepare For Legal Marijuana

OREGON:  The Oregon Health Authority says there over 300 registered medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon.

Emerald City Medicinal is one of 19 in Eugene that can legally start selling recreational marijuana to adults as of Thursday, October 1st.

Measure 91, passed by voters in 2014, allows the sale of recreational marijuana at medicinal dispensaries.

Customers are legally allowed to buy seven grams of marijuana, which is a quarter of the one ounce legal carrying limit.

Emerald City says the cost of seven grams depends on the type of cannabis.

It says there are thousands of varieties out there to choose from.

Oregon Considers Rules For Marijuana Grow Sites, Pesticides And Pot Delivery Dervices

OREGON: Indoor marijuana growers producing for the recreational market would be capped at 10,000-square-foot facilities and outdoor growers would be limited to 2-acre parcels under one proposal being considered by a state-appointed committee looking at marijuana regulation.

Draft rules for grow sites, pesticide use, retail sales and the production of concentrates and marijuana-infused edibles were discussed Friday by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission‘s rules advisory committee.

Though anyone 21 and older may buy up to a quarter-ounce of cannabis flowers, unlimited seeds and four plants from medical marijuana dispensaries starting Oct. 1, those purchases are part of Oregon’s early sales program, which is overseen by the Oregon Health Authority.

‘Smoke Buddy’ Mobile Marijuana Cart Illegal, Oregon Officials Say

OREGON:  A mobile cart selling marijuana in Portland is illegal, the Oregon Health Authority said Monday.

The Smoke Buddy cart has been seen in North Portland. Jonathan Modie, a spokesman for the health authority, which oversees the state’s dispensary system, said mobile marijuana operations and delivery services are illegal under Oregon’s rules.

“Any transfer of marijuana to or from a dispensary must take place at the registered address of the dispensary,” the state notes on its dispensary website.

Oregon Releases Draft Recreational Marijuana Rules

OREGON:  Oregon public health officials have released draft rules for medical marijuana dispensaries selling legal recreational pot.

The Oregon Health Authority‘s rules limit the type of marijuana products sold as of October 1 to seeds, dried leaves and flowers and plants that are not flowering. As expected, edibles won’t be sold to recreational users at medical marijuana dispensaries.

The products can be purchased in limited quantities, including up to one-quarter ounce of marijuana flowers or leaves per day.

Only adults age 21 and older will be able to enter the dispensaries, which will verify age via a state or federally issued ID. Each purchase will be recorded.

OLCC: Don’t Mix Medical And Recreational Rot

OREGON:  In one of its first messages to the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission warned against allowing retail marijuana shops, expected to open in late 2016, to sell from the same locations from which medical marijuana is dispensed.

Medical marijuana in Oregon is unregulated until it reaches the dispensary. Growers do not need licenses the way dispensaries do, and their product is not tracked the way Measure 91 will require marijuana grown for recreational use to be tracked from seed to sale.

“Medical production by growers for cardholders, and ‘card stacking’ practices, produces an excess of product, not all of which is delivered to patients,” OLCC Chairman Rob Patridge wrote March 3 to leaders in the Oregon House and Senate. “There is debate about how much of the remainder of medical product is being shared with individuals and dispensaries, exported, lost, destroyed or simply sold illegally. The fact that there is a debate is evidence that the system cannot meet federal guidelines.”

Government authorities assume that some portion of the marijuana grown for medicinal purposes leaks onto the black market; for that reason, an unregulated system could not exist alongside a regulated system for recreational marijuana, said Tom Towslee, interim communications director for the OLCC recreational marijuana program. The Oregon Health Authority has jurisdiction over medical marijuana. Discussion at the state level already includes the possibility of bringing medical and recreational marijuana together under the OLCC, Towslee said.

Oregon Appeals Ruling That City Can Ban Pot Outlets

OREGON:  The state of Oregon is appealing a Circuit Court ruling that a city in the heart of southern Oregon marijuana country can ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Grants Pass Daily Courier (http://bit.ly/121b1FZ) reported Wednesday the appeal was filed last week by the Oregon Department of Justice on behalf of the governor and the Oregon Health Authority.

Josephine County Circuit Judge Pat Wolke ruled that the dispensary law enacted last year by the Legislature does not stop the city of Cave Junction from denying a business license to a medical marijuana dispensary.

He relied on past rulings over similar issues, and did not address the constitutional issues raised in the city of Cave Junction’s original lawsuit.