OLCC: Don’t Mix Medical And Recreational Pot

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.