Will Higlin Named OLCC Deputy Director

OREGON: Will Higlin has been appointed Deputy Director for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as of April 1, 2017.  The announcement comes after Merle Lindsey, respected 35-year veteran of OLCC, announced his retirement from the agency as Deputy Director.

Higlin joined the OLCC in May 2014 as the Liquor Licensing Director, and was quickly promoted to the Senior Director of Licensing and Compliance in 2015.  In his new role, Higlin oversees OLCC operations for Distilled Spirits, Marijuana, and Public Safety programs. 

Since the legalization of marijuana, the agency has undergone considerable changes in structure, services, and operations including the largest retail liquor expansion since prohibition. 

“I’m confident in Will’s ability to serve as a source of stability as we continue to improve the services we offer and transition operations to modern, integrated business practices,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director.  “His willingness to assume additional leadership responsibilities has played a key role in OLCC’s success.”

“I’m grateful for the confidence that Executive Director Marks has placed in me and look forward to working with our industry partners and liquor agents to ensure we meet and exceed the expectations of Oregon customers.” says Higlin. “The steady improvements made in public safety and licensing will continue to move ahead under new leadership.”

Higlin has a strong history of business and customer service accomplishments including 15 years during the establishment of the Oregon Lottery where he served as the Assistant Director of Retail Operations.  He also has a record of customer engagement success in the private sector as Director of Sales for North America at SPIELO G2 and Director of Regional Marketing at GTECH Corporation.  

Higlin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Education from Oregon State University.  He lives in Salem with his wife Patty where they raised three daughters. 

On Merle Lindsey’s departure, Executive Director Marks remarked, “Merle has been a source of strength and integrity for the agency, ensuring a successful transition for executive leadership.  He has shepherded the growth of our billion dollar business, which has provided Oregonians an incredible support for state and local public services over the decades.”

OLCC Notice of Public Hearing: Pesticides, Fertilizers and Agricultural Chemicals

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) will be holding a Public Hearing to address amendments to OAR 845-025-2070 – Pesticides, Fertilizers and Agricultural Chemicals.

 In January, OLCC temporarily amended 845-025-2070 to align the rule with the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Marijuana Compliance Assistance Program. This program allows marijuana producers who participate in the program to accept responsibility for potential illegal pesticide applications.

A producer that accepts responsibility will receive a notice of warning from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for their first violation instead of a Category I violation. Any subsequent violations would result in a Category I violation, as the Assistance program is only available to first time violators.

Download the Public Notice

Download the Draft Rule

OLCC Notice of Public Hearing: Alternating Proprietors Package

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be holding a Public Hearing to address amending OAR 845-025-3250 and adopting 845-05-3255 – Alternating Proprietors Package.

As OLCC staff has begun licensing cannabinoid edible processors, staff has discovered that many processor do not own a commercial kitchen to produce their products. Instead, as is common in the catering industry, many edible/concentrate makers rent commercial kitchen space or share space with another processor to save on costs.

Existing rules allow for this practice under certain conditions for processors with an edible endorsement. However, existing rules do not contemplate that many edible makers also produce their own infused products, which requires a concentrate endorsement. The Commission is expanding the rule to allow processors who operate under this rule to also produce certain concentrates for use in their edible or topical products.

OLCC Issues Marijuana Product Recall For Pesticide Laden Blue Magoo

OREGON:  The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is issuing an immediate health and safety advisory due to the identification of potentially unsafe pesticide residue on retail plant material produced from marijuana cultivated by Emerald Wave Estate, LLC.

The affected marijuana failed a pesticide test for pyrethrins exceeding the Oregon Health Authority action level for this class of pesticide.

Affected products include marijuana flower; the retailer that sold the product has issued a voluntary recall. The marijuana flower was sold at Buds 4 U LLC located at 10692 Highway 126, Suite 4, Mapleton, Oregon.

A wholesaler transferred the product to the retailer before the pesticide results were recorded in the OLCC Cannabis Tracking System (CTS). Buds 4 U sold 82.5 grams to 31 customers between March 8 and March 10, 2017. The retailer noticed the failed pesticide results in the CTS on March 10, 2017 and immediately contacted the OLCC.

The affected marijuana should bear a label that includes one of the following OLCC License numbers:

  • 050-1002850B56E
  • 060-100301304FE
  • 050-1002850B56E

and any of the following package numbers:

  • 1A4010300005B05000000772 – product name: Blue Magoo
  • 1A4010300005B05000000769 – product name: Blue Magoo
  • 1A4010300005911000000005 – product name: Blue Magoo

The remainder of the affected nine pound batch of marijuana flower has been placed on administrative hold, meaning it cannot be lawfully transferred, pending the outcome of an additional pesticide retest. Consumers who have these recalled products should dispose of the products or return them to the retailer where they were purchased.

There have been no reports of illness. The possible health impact of consuming marijuana products with unapproved pesticide residues is unknown. Short and long-term health impacts may exist depending on the specific product, duration, frequency, level of exposure, and route of exposure. Consumers with concerns about their personal health should contact their physician with related questions.

Consumers with questions or concerns about recalled product or pesticide residues in marijuana products are encouraged to contact the product retailer and/or the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222- 1222.

OLCC Talks Licensing, Temporary Regulations For Marijuana Businesses

OREGON: Raised hands quickly shot up from potential recreational marijuana business owners who had plenty of questions for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission at a meeting Thursday.

The state agency’s first of seven workshops about licensing and temporary rules was at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend. The other workshops will take place in Medford, Eugene, Salem and Portland. About 250 people filed into the downstairs Exhibit Hall at the convention center to hear from OLCC officials and ask about the licensing process moving forward.

The OLCC will begin accepting license applications Jan. 4. The state agency will regulate growers, retailers and laboratories, wholesalers and processors.

Recreational retail shops won’t be open until October.

Microphones were passed around, and audience members asked questions about lighting for indoor and outdoor growing, licensing constraints, security requirements for marijuana businesses and whether the agency would limit licenses.

OLCC Adopts Temporary Rules For Retail Marijuana Sales

OREGON:  The Oregon Liquor Control Commission voted to accept temporary rules that will govern Oregon’s retail marijuana system once it’s fully operational next year.

The rules would limit the size of growing operations and prohibit medical and recreational stores under one roof. The on-site use of marijuana would be prohibited, and delivery of pot would face stiff restrictions.

The rules will be in effect from Jan. 1 to June 28, 2016.

Trees And Marijuana Lead Salem City Council Agenda

OREGON: Trees and commercial marijuana production top the agenda for the Monday, Sept. 28, Salem City Council meeting.

There will be a first reading of Ordinance Bill 22-15, which would amend city code to restrict the commercial production of recreational marijuana to indoor production sites, or outdoor sites within exclusive farm use zone.  The council decide whether to refer the ordinance to the planning commission for a hearing and recommendation.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be issuing licenses for commercial producers of recreational marijuana in 2016. The proposed amendment would not affect medical marijuana grow sites, or restrict state law allowing individuals to grow up to four marijuana plants on their property for recreational purposes.

Oregonian To OLCC: Allow Out-of-State Marijuana Business Investment

OREGON: When crafting a marijuana legalization measure, it is necessary to balance several objectives, including: personal freedom and public safety; tax revenue and responsible use; free speech and advertising restrictions designed to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors; and out-of-state competition vs. protecting in-state mom and pops. When drafting Measure 91, we co-authors carefully considered these various interests and felt that we had developed a sensible law that would stake a moderate middle on these issues and move the state of Oregon forward with a cannabis industry that would follow in the footsteps of our successful microbrewery and winery industries, while most importantly ending the arrest and citation of thousands of people for marijuana offenses. Apparently, voters agreed, supporting Measure 91 with more than 56% of the vote.

To balance the need to bring in out-of-state capital and protect Oregon’s homegrown industry, we concluded that the best way to balance these interests was to provide for a low, barrier to entry and provide for transparency. With a $1,250 license fee for growers, producers and retailers, Oregon entrepreneurs could be vertically-integrated for just $3,750 and market themselves as true Oregon small businesses.

Oregon Recruiting 11 Recreational Marijuana Inspectors

OREGON:  The day when recreational marijuana will be available for purchase in Oregon is fast approaching. At the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, jobs are being created to get ready for implementing recreational marijuana policies.

Some context: On Oct. 1, medical marijuana dispensaries in most areas will begin selling some kinds of marijuana products to consumers. On Jan. 4, the state will begin accepting permit applications for marijuana businesses. Oregonians voted to legalize recreational marijuana through Measure 91, which passed in 2014.

Measure 91 brought Oregon an entirely new industry with its own new kinds of jobs. It’s impossible to say how many private sector jobs have been created from the marijuana market so far in Oregon. In the public sector, several dozen jobs have been created.

The OLCC is hiring 11 marijuana compliance specialists around the state to monitor and enforce regulations as well as train individuals on the licensing process. The positions pay $3,610 to $5,277 a month, and applications are due Sept. 1. Eight of the positions are permanent and three are temporary.

Growing Number Of Oregon Cities, Counties Banning Marijuana

OREGON:  At least a dozen Oregon cities and counties have taken steps to ban marijuana businesses from their boundaries as the state prepares to begin retail sales in October.

Four counties and eight cities have informed the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that they plan to ban marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers. In some jurisdictions, the ban must go before voters.

Oregon lawmakers gave local governments the ability to keep out marijuana businesses, which were authorized by voters under last year’s Measure 91. In counties where at least 60 percent of voters opposed the measure, local governments can ban the marijuana businesses outright; elsewhere, a ban is temporary until voters weigh in.

Even in jurisdictions that opt out, adults can still grow and use marijuana subject to the same limits that apply in the rest of the state. But if they want to buy the drug from a retail store, they’ll have to travel to somewhere that allows them.