OLCC Identifies Potential Consumer Harm In Some Cannabis Vape Products

Voluntary recall started because non-cannabis additives had undisclosed ingredients

Investigation continues to determine impact across Oregon’s legal cannabis industry

OREGON:  As part of an on-going consumer product safety investigation, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has identified that marijuana products sold in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market during the last two years contained additives, squalene and squalane, that have been linked to safety concerns similar to Vitamin E Acetate when vaped and inhaled. The OLCC is working to trace products and when necessary remove them from sale. OLCC will be considering immediate action at its December 2020 Commission meeting to prohibit future use of squalene and squalane, institute a mandatory recall of affected products, and create a more stringent and transparent review process of cannabis vaping products going forward.

Recreational retail shops won’t be open until October.

The products under investigation by OLCC contained Viscosity, a non-cannabis diluent manufactured and sold by a third-party (non-OLCC marijuana licensee). Some of the product remains on the market, and the OLCC is working to trace and remove it.

Bulk Naturals LLC., dba True Terpenes, sold Viscosity that solely contained squalene, squalane, and an unidentified olive extract to OLCC recreational marijuana licensees between at least January 2018 and November 2019. Squalene is a “botanically-derived terpene” that can be derived from olives; squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene. Following OLCC’s confirmation of the presence of squalane in Viscosity via independent laboratory analysis by ChemHistory and SC Labs, True Terpenes has complied with all of OLCC’s requests for information. Viscosity has since been reformulated, and according to True Terpenes, none of their products have contained squalene or squalane since November 2019.

As a result of its investigation the OLCC has identified recreational marijuana licensees that potentially used Viscosity in their products.  Because of their purchase of Viscosity, OLCC has requested additional information from several licensees about products they have manufactured.

One licensee – Oregrown, a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Bend – swiftly provided the requested documentation. Oregrown was the first licensee to confirm its use of the Viscosity formula under investigation, and since then has been working with the OLCC to voluntarily recall the limited amount of its remaining product containing Viscosity. OLCC has provided Oregrown with the information regarding affected items still on the market and their current location.

Oregrown utilized Viscosity in making Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite style vaping products manufactured on or prior to August 31, 2019. Although Oregrown has reformulated its PAX product to no longer include Viscosity, the previously manufactured items containing the prior Viscosity formula remain in the market. The most recent sales from Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite products containing this prior Viscosity formula were in October 2020.

In all, between April 2018 and October 2020, 268 OLCC licensed recreational marijuana retailers sold this item.

Consumers can verify the date of manufacture and whether an item they have purchased is subject to this recall. Any Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite item with the label identification of “2520” and made before August 31, 2019 should be destroyed by the consumer or returned to the retailer where the item was purchased.

The OLCC has found that Oregrown was NOT aware of the contents of Viscosity and didn’t know that it contained potentially harmful ingredients. At the time that Oregrown used Viscosity, the manufacturer, True Terpenes, did not publicly disclose any of Viscosity’s ingredients due to claims of trade secret protections. Oregrown has provided all information that OLCC has requested, and its products complied with OLCC’s labeling rules at the time. OLCC expects that other licensees will act just as swiftly in order to ensure consumer safety by assisting the Commission in identifying and removing these potentially harmful products from the market.

The OLCC has been concerned about the presence of undisclosed ingredients in cannabis vaping products, and during the last year has been examining the use of non-cannabis additives. As part of this review OLCC has gathered evidence that certain additives pose potential danger to consumers.

At the same time the OLCC has suspected that these unhealthy additives had already been introduced into Oregon’s recreational marijuana system without the knowledge of licensees. The OLCC has been investigating the presence of unknown additives in cannabis vape products, which led to OLCC’s independent discovery of squalene and squalane tainted products.

OLCC recently commissioned a study that determined that when exposed to heat, squalene and squalane produce harmful chemicals. It has also been documented that inhaling squalene has been associated with exogenous lipoid pneumonia. Initial evidence about these additives also suggests a potential for consumer harm similar to that already proven about Vitamin E Acetate.

In light of these recent findings, OLCC staff will be proposing two actions at OLCC’s December 17, 2020, Commission meeting. One will be an action that would declare squalene and squalane adulterants; if approved by the Commission, any items in Oregon’s regulated market to which squalene or squalane have been added would be subject to a mandatory public health and safety recall. The second proposed action will be rules regarding cannabis vaping products that have been under development since July 2020; these rules would establish greater transparency and accountability regarding non-cannabis ingredients, like Viscosity, that are used in cannabis vaping products sold in the OLCC system.

OLCC is continuing its investigation into licensees that purchased Viscosity during the relevant time frame in order to confirm whether it was used in any other vaping products that were sold to consumers. If it is determined that other licensees used the prior formulation of Viscosity without proper disclosure on the item’s label, or have withheld information from the OLCC regarding the use of Viscosity, OLCC will pursue compliance action against those licensees as necessary. Additional health and safety recalls may be issued as more information is discovered.

OLCC Commission Approves Rules on Revoking Marijuana Worker Permits and Harvest Notification

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission today approved a rule permitting the agency to revoke the Marijuana Worker Permit of any permittee determined to be deliberately selling marijuana to a minor. The action adds to a series of steps taken by the Commission to prevent the sale of marijuana items to minors.

The Commission also approved a rule requiring marijuana producers to provide the OLCC advance notice when harvesting their cannabis crop.

In late 2017 the Commission began minor decoy operations to determine if retailers were selling marijuana products to minors. In early 2018, because of poor compliance among retailers, the Commission stiffened the penalties for retail licensees selling marijuana items to minors. After the increased fines were put in place compliance rates improved, but the Commission is increasingly seeing cases with repeated violations.

“Today’s action holds individuals with Marijuana Worker Permits as responsible as our licensees because it puts in jeopardy their right to work in the legal cannabis industry,” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC Commission Chair. “However it’s a privilege—not a right—to hold a license. We want to be in a position to take stronger action against those who don’t take the privilege of their license seriously, and will be addressing strengthening our sanctions in an upcoming session.”

The harvest notification rule is designed to reduce opportunities for legally produced cannabis to be diverted to the illegal market. The rule requires licensed producers to notify the OLCC by 9 AM any morning the producer decides to harvest their crop.

“We’ve designed this rule to be seamless because we want producers to make this a part of their normal business operations,” said Steven Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “At the same time it serves a very important function to preserve the integrity of our regulated market to keep what’s produced by the regulated market in the regulated market. That is exactly why we have worked hard with industry, law enforcement and public officials to make this a rule that can bring a sense of transparent accountability to the harvest.”

In other action the Commissioners of the OLCC approved the following fines and/or marijuana license suspensions based on stipulated settlements:

Lunchbox Alchemy, will pay a fine of $1,485 or serve a nine-day recreational marijuana processor license suspension for one violation.

The violation is for the licensee or its employees, agents, or representatives failed to record in METRC Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) within 10 days of licensure, information regarding the usable marijuana, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts or products that the Commission permitted to be transferred in from Licensee’s medical marijuana processing site inventory.

Licensee is CHC Laboratories, LLC; Cameron Yee, Managing Member.

Sensible Cannabis Company in Medfordwill pay a fine of $6,105 or serve a 37-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for two violations.

The first violation is for the licensee failing to keep surveillance recordings for a minimum of 90 calendar days.

The second violation is for the licensee or the licensee’s employees, agents, servants or representatives failing to store marijuana items in such a manner that the items were only accessible to authorized representatives until such time as the final sale to a consumer was completed when an edible item and jars of usable marijuana flower were left unsecured on the retail counter.

Licensee is FJ Ventures LLC.; Steven Fields, Managing Member; SR Ventures Inc., Member.

Pendleton Cannabis Company in Pendletonwill pay a fine of $2,970 or serve an 18-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for two violations.

The first violation is for the licensee failing to ensure that all marijuana items on the retail premises were kept in a safe or vault.

The second violation is for the licensee or the licensee’s employees, agents, servants or representatives failing to enter data into the Metrc Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) that fully and transparently accounted for all inventory tracking activities when Shawn Pace was listed as the CTS user, package adjustments were listed as “in house quality control,” and items reported to be “package adjustments” were found to still be on the premises.

Licensee is Pendleton Cannabis LLC.; Shawn Pace, Member; Roalynn Pace, Member.

Magic Castle in Medfordwill pay a fine of $6,105 or serve a 37-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for two violations.

The first violation is for the licensee failing to keep surveillance recordings for a minimum of 90 calendar days.

The second violation is for the licensee or the licensee’s employees, agents, servants or representatives failing to ensure that all marijuana items on the licensed retailer’s premises were kept in a safe or vault during all hours when Licensee was not operating.

Licensee is Magic Castle Inc.; Suren Vardanyan, President/Secretary/Stockholder; SR Ventures Inc., Member.

99 North; will pay a fine of $8,580 or serve a 52-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for six violations.

The first violation is for the licensee’s employees, agents or representatives failing to enter data into the Metrc Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) that fully and transparently accounted for all inventory tracking activities.

The second violation is for the licensee maintaining cultivation batches at the premises that included more than 100 immature marijuana plants less than eight inches tall. Licensee created multiple cultivation batches that included more than 100 immature plants less than eight inches tall.

The third violation is for the licensee repeatedly failing to, within 45 days of harvesting a harvest lot, physically segregate individual harvest lots in a receptacle or multiple receptacles, and assign a UID tag to each receptacle that is linked to each plant that was harvested.

The fourth violation is for the licensee, its employees, agents, or representatives failing to ensure that cameras were placed in limited access areas on the premises in such a manner that they could capture clear and certain images of any individual and activity occurring in the limited access area.

The fifth violation is for the licensee failing to use UID tags issued by a Commission approved vendor, properly tag all inventory with a UID tag no later than when each plant reached a height of 24 inches or when the individual plants were identified as female, whichever was sooner, properly tag all other inventory with a UID tag pursuant to the requirements of CTS, and/or place tags in a position that can be clearly read by an individual standing next to the items, when inspectors located multiple untagged marijuana plants and items at the premises.

The sixth violation is for the licensee permitting a person, Julie Larsen, to use another person’s unique CTS log-on and password, when the Licensee Yu acknowledged that Julie Larsen used both her own unique log-on and password and Licensee Yu’s log-on and password to make entries related to the licensed premises.

Licensee is 99 North, LLC; Kimberly Yu, President/Secretary/Stockholder.

Hunter Neubauer; permittee will serve a 23-day suspension for one violation.

The Permittee made false statement(s) or representation(s) to the Commission in order to induce or prevent action or investigation by the Commission, when Permittee told Inspector Larry Brown that Licensee Oregrown has not had hemp on the premises since before they received their OLCC license and that “Mary’s Remedy Concentrated CBD Oil” label listing “hemp flower oil” as an ingredient was a mistake, probably from when they did process hemp items.

Oregrown; will serve a 76-day license suspension OR pay a fine of $4,950 and serve a 46-day recreational marijuana processor license suspension for three violations.

The first violation is for the licensee, a marijuana processor, and/or its employees, servants, agents, or representatives, permitted industrial hemp or a product derived from industrial hemp that contains cannabinoids to be present on the licensed premises.

The second violation is for the licensee’s employee, servant, agent or representative Aviv Hadar making a false statement or representation to the Commission in order to induce or prevent action or investigation by the Commission, when he told OLCC Recreational Marijuana Packaging and Labeling Specialist Jamie Dickinson that the “Mary’s Remedy Concentrated CBD Oil” label listing “hemp flower oil” as an ingredient was a typo/mistake from the Mary’s design team.

The third violation is for the Licensee’s employee, agent, or representative Managing Partner Hunter Neubauer, making false statement(s) or representation(s) to the Commission in order to induce or prevent action or investigation by the Commission, when Permittee told Inspector Larry Brown that Licensee Oregrown has not had hemp on the premises since before they received their OLCC license and that “Mary’s Remedy Concentrated CBD Oil” label listing “hemp flower oil” as an ingredient was a mistake, probably from when they did process hemp items.

Licensee is Pacific Enterprise Holdings, LLC; Oregrown Inc., Managing Member. Hunter Neubauer, President/Director/Stockholder; Kevin Hogan, Secretary, Director/Stockholder; Tsiona Bitton, Director/Stockholder; Justin Crawn, Director/Stockholder;

Rogue Coast Growers; will pay a fine of $9,750 or serve a 58-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for five violations.

The first violation is for the licensee, or the licensee’s employees, agents, servants or representatives failing to keep surveillance recordings for a minimum of 90 calendar days.

The second violation is for the licensee, or the licensee’s employees, agents, servants, or representatives intentionally making physical changes to the licensed premises or the usage of the licensed premises that materially or substantially altered the licensed premises or the usage of the licensed premises from the plans originally approved by the Commission, without the Commission’s prior written approval when, during a premise inspection, it was discovered that an unapproved greenhouse structure and a hoop house structure were being used to grow marijuana plants.

The third violation is for the is for the licensee, or the licensee’s employees, agents, servants, or representatives failing to ensure that commercial grade, non-residential door locks were installed on every external door and gate of the licensed premises where marijuana items were present, specifically, on the door of the greenhouse and hoop house gate.

The fourth violation is for the licensee, its employees, agents, servants, or representatives failing to have a security alarm system able to detect unauthorized activity within any limited access area where mature marijuana plants, usable marijuana, cannabinoid concentrates, extracts, or products are in place.

The fifth violation is for the licensee, its employees, agents, or representatives failing to ensure that cameras were placed in a manner that captures clear and certain images of any individual and activity occurring within 15 feet both inside and outside of all points of ingress and egress to and from the licensed premises in and around the greenhouse structure and the hoop house structure.

Licensee is Rogue Coast Growers, LLC.; John Weinert, Managing Member; Gold Beach Ventures, LLC, Member.

 

 

Oregrown Flagship Grand Reopening March 3

OREGON: Oregrown Industries will celebrate the grand reopening of its flagship store with music, food and beverages this Friday, March 3 from 4-6 p.m. at 1199 NW Wall Street in downtown Bend. The event marks the completion of construction of an expansion that has nearly tripled the size of the company’s retail store.

“Oregrown was launched four years ago by a group of friends with a dream to grow and sell the best cannabis in the world right here in Bend, Oregon,” Hadar said. “Today, we are extremely proud to have completed this expansion, which allows us to add nearly two dozen employees to our retail staff, reduce wait times for our loyal customers, and increase our selection of top shelf cannabis flower, extracts, edibles and other products.”

Bend State Representative Knute Buehler offered his congratulations on the expansion, which cements Oregrown’s presence as an anchor merchant in downtown Bend.

Bend has developed a national reputation for its talented entrepreneurs and for pioneering new industries,” Buehler said. “I am excited to see Oregrown continue to contribute to this culture of innovation by expanding locally and creating even more jobs in our community.”

Rod Porsche is the executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, which has partnered with Oregrown on community improvement projects like the beautification of a pocket park at the northern gateway to downtown, and the Bend Oktoberfest, which supports the Association’s flower basket program.

“Downtown is a better place with Oregrown here,” Porsche said. “The Downtown Bend Business Association appreciates Oregrown’s commitment to making our community an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Oregrown has steadily increased its commitment to the Bend business community. Co-owner Hunter Neubauer has recently joined the board of directors at the Bend Chamber, where the company is a platinum sponsor and underwriter of the Chamber’s Young Professionals program.

“It’s been a great pleasure working with local business owners to bring prosperity and opportunity to Bend,” Neubauer said.

Hadar said Oregrown welcomes all community members 21 and over to Friday’s grand reopening event, which will feature food, beverages, music, and appearances by Oregrown Team Rider skiers and snowboarders.

“This Friday, we just want to say ‘thank you’ to our amazing customers, our wonderful downtown neighbors and community leaders,” Hadar said. “We are humbled and inspired by your love and support.”

Oregrown Launches Home Delivery of Craft Cannabis

OREGON:  Oregrown IndustriesOregon’s premier farm-to-table marijuana company, will offer home delivery of craft cannabis products and locally made glass pipes from its flagship store in downtown Bend, Oregon beginning next week.

“Home cannabis delivery is coming to Bend, and Oregrown is your door-to-door connection,” said Oregrown cofounder Aviv Hadar.  “We have worked very hard to make the Oregrown store experience the best in the state, but even so, there’s something magical about placing an order and having top shelf, craft cannabis delivered right to your door.  Now we can make that happen.”

Under Oregon law, recreational cannabis stores can deliver between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to residential addresses within the store’s jurisdiction. One delivery per day is allowed to any single address or customer.  Deliveries must be made to the individual who placed the order, who must be 21 or over.

“Our location in downtown Bend means that we can deliver anywhere in the city, any time of year, including to a lot of properties that are primarily vacation rentals,” said Hadar.  “We like to think that Oregrown is already enhancing the Bend experience for locals and visitors alike.  Now we can do it even more conveniently.”

Hadar said Oregrown’s delivery vehicles will be discreet, and their drivers as friendly and professional as their retail staff.

“What could be better than visiting or living here in Central Oregon? Having the best cannabis delivered right to your door,” Hadar said. “Now you really can have it all.”

Oregrown And Humane Society Partner On Senior Pet Adoptions

OREGON: Oregon’s premier farm to table cannabis company, has partnered with the Humane Society of Central Oregon to cover the costs of adopting older pets.

“Imagine the perfect pet – one that doesn’t chew or scratch the furniture, is house-trained from day one, and is full of love,” said Oregrown co-founder Christina Hadar. “That’s what you tend to get when you adopt an older pet. That’s why, for many families, senior pets make the best companions. And right now, adopting a senior pet is easier and more affordable than ever.”

The Humane Society of Central Oregon is currently offering a 50 percent discount on adoptions of animals seven years and older. Oregrown will cover the remaining adoption-related costs through the end of November.

On “Giving Tuesday,” November 29, customers at Oregrown’s flagship dispensary in downtown Bend can earn a 10% discount by donating $5 or more to the Humane Society of Central Oregon. The shelter will use the donations to purchase a much-needed X-ray machine.

Hadar said the partnership with the Humane Society is part of Oregrown’s commitment to community and helping those in need, including those who have no voice.

“Pet adoption is a cause that is near and dear to us at Oregrown,” Hadar said. “Many of us are lucky to have pets of our own. We want to encourage our neighbors to adopt or foster an animal this holiday season.”