Washington: WSLCB Notice Of Proposed Rules

October 28, 2020

Notice of Proposed Rules – WSR #20-22-042

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board invites your input on proposed rules regarding marijuana license qualification and application process rules described in chapter 314-55 WAC.

This notice and other relevant rulemaking materials may be viewed at lcb.wa.gov/laws/laws-and-rules under Proposed Rules.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board encourages your participation in the rule making process by giving input on this rule. The board will hold at least one public hearing before the rules are adopted.

Public Comment

Please forward your initial comments to the Liquor and Cannabis Board by mail, e-mail, or fax by December 9, 2020.

By mail:   Rules Coordinator                       By e-mail:                 By fax:
                 Liquor and Cannabis Board      rules@lcb.wa.gov    360-664-9689
P.O. Box 43080
Olympia, WA  98504-3080

Public Hearing: December 9, 2020, 10:00 a.m.

In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, the Board will not provide a physical location for this hearing to promote social distancing and the safety of the citizens of Washington state. A virtual public hearing, without a physical meeting space, will be held instead. Board members, presenters, and staff will all participate remotely. The public may login using a computer or device, or call-in using a phone, to listen to the meeting through the WebEx application. The public may provide verbal comments during the specified public comment and rules hearing segments.

For more information about board meetings, please visit https://lcb.wa.gov/boardmeetings/board_meetings

MCR Labs ‘Ask An Expert’ Virtual Event Seeks To Clear Up Mass. Cannabis Confusion

Cannabis experts will weigh in on questions submitted by members of the general public as part of a virtual panel discussion hosted by MCR Labs on October 28.

MASSACHUSETTS:  MCR Labs is organizing a virtual panel discussion for members of the public to submit cannabis-related questions to four experts with backgrounds in cannabis testing, research, medicine, and cultivation in order to help new and experienced cannabis consumers expand their knowledge of a complex and often misunderstood plant.

“Even though it’s legal here in Massachusetts, cannabis is still scary and confusing to some and complicated or overwhelming to others,” said MCR Labs President and founder Michael Kahn. “We’re trying to create more opportunities for everyone to get real answers from legitimate sources since there’s still a lot of misinformation being spread about cannabis and marijuana.”

The virtual event, titled “Ask an Expert,” will feature qualified cannabis professionals from a variety of fields and specialties. The panel discussion will include Scott Churchill, Director of Scientific Operations at MCR Labs, a cannabis testing laboratory; Dr. Marion McNabb, President of the Cannabis Center of Excellence, a research and advocacy group; Dr. Benjamin Caplan, Chief Medical Officer at the CED Clinic, a medical cannabis clinic; and Noni Goldman, Co-Founder of Four Trees Management Co., a consulting firm and tier 1 cultivation provisional licensee.

By bringing together experts with a diverse array of backgrounds, the MCR Labs’ outreach team hopes to enable a broad selection of individuals with any level of cannabis knowledge to hear answers to questions ranging from highly complex to basic and introductory.

“COVID-19 has created a significant lack of educational events geared toward cannabis at the same time that many are exploring using, growing, or even joining the industry for the first time,” said MCR Labs Event & Outreach Specialist Melissa Kenton. “So, we’re trying something new for us by hosting this online event because no matter what’s happening with the virus, education is critical to helping people explore cannabis safely.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28 starting at 11 a.m. Attendees can register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/MCRLabsAskExpertEvent. Those with questions for the panel can submit them via any of MCR Labs social media accounts by messaging @mcrlabs on most platforms or by emailing the outreach team directly at news@mcrlabs.com.

Oregon: OLCC Commission Greenlights Solution For Streamlining License Applications

Commission supports “fix-it ticket” approach for minor compliance violations

Marijuana license stipulated settlements approved

OREGON: At its regular monthly meeting on October 15, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission moved forward with plans to streamline the agency’s recreational marijuana licensing process and adjust compliance and enforcement activity through a Verification of Compliance (VOC) program. The Commission also approved five marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

OLCC has been challenged to timely issue marijuana licenses since April 2016, due to the continued interest in the recreational market. Personnel and technology support have not kept pace with license applications that quickly shot past the initial projection of 800 licenses and now number more than 2,300.

As the industry has matured, the agency’s ability to regulate it has evolved and the OLCC has modified its licensing process several times in an attempt to streamline. This latest licensing process adjustment attempts to make it easier for applicants to begin operating before the final approval of changes in ownership and financial interest changes in a licensed business.

Likening the existing license process to a freeway that squeezes from 10 lanes down to two, the Chair of the Commission cautioned that efficiencies made through continuous adjustments to the licensing process would not be enough to address the long term licensing challenge.

“We’re not kidding ourselves, if we don’t get the manpower, the back end is going to be two lanes regardless of the ten lanes up front,” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC Chair. “If we don’t get the budget, we’re not going to solve this issue.”

For now, this licensing catch-up attempt will be similar to past efforts where staff were reallocated to the licensing division. Under this push to catchup, 16 OLCC staff members will be temporarily reassigned to licensing.

In addition to approving a temporary rule allowing the license process change, the Commission also initiated the permanent rulemaking process, which will expand the scope of the streamlining, as well as provide an opportunity for industry input.

The Commission also initiated the permanent rule making process for the new Verification of Compliance (VOC) program. The VOC program, which launched October 1, 2020, provides licensees with an opportunity to fix problems and avoid more severe penalties.

See Recreational Marijuana Program Compliance Education Bulletin 2020-05 for more information on the Verification of Compliance program.

The Commission also ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

GREENRIDGE AGRONOMY will serve a 65-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension OR pay a fine of $5,775 AND serve a 30-day license suspension cfor six violations.

Licensee is: GreenRidge Agronomy, LLC; Stanley Tamiyasu, Member; Brandon Pierson, Member.

HEALING GREEN DISPENSARY in Independence will surrender its marijuana retailer license suspension for two violations.

Licensees are: Healing Green, LLC; Michael Hecht, Member.

KAYA FARMS (#A8DF) will surrender its recreational marijuana processor license suspension for two violations.

Licensees are: Sunstone Marketing Partners, LLC; Robert Frey, Member/Manager.

KAYA FARMS (#035C) will surrender its recreational marijuana producer license suspension for three violations.

Licensees are: Sunstone Marketing Partners, LLC; Robert Frey, Member/Manager.

UPMQUA GREEN CROSS in Roseburg will surrender its recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for seven violations.

Licensees are: Umpqua Green Cross, LLC; Edward Allen, Member.

OLCC Streamlining Marijuana License Applications

Temporary Rule Changes

OREGON:  On October 15, 2020, the Commission adopted temporary rules intended to provide relief to the industry and allowing OLCC greater flexibility in the processing of marijuana license applications. The main changes implemented in these temporary rules are:

  • Revising the definition of who needs to be identified as an “applicant” for the license, including raising the threshold from the 10% to 20% ownership.
  • Changing license application requirements, including reducing the amount of information and documentation which was previously required.
  • Modifying when OLCC may request fingerprints for a background check to once per license year, rather than specifically in conjunction with a renewal application.
  • Applicants can change the location of their proposed licensed premises prior to licensure, except for Producers who are prohibited by law from making that type of change until January 2022.
  • Changes to notification and pre-approval requirements when licensees make changes to business structures or financial interests (see below).
  • Simplified paperwork requirements for Producer propagation endorsement and medically designated canopy registration.

In the coming months, the Commission will go through a permanent rulemaking process to finalize the rules, making adjustments based on feedback from the industry and other stakeholders. Anyone wanting to provide comment or input on proposed rules should subscribe to OLCC’s email updates to stay apprised of the most recent activities, including dates and deadlines for public comment.

 

License Application Streamlining

In light of the current licensing backlog, Commission staff have been developing a comprehensive strategy to improve the processing time frame for all licensing actions. The agency believes that implementing the flexibility afforded by this temporary rule package and making internal process adjustments will significantly reduce the time it takes staff to evaluate each license application. The goal is to make the entire licensing process more efficient, timely, and predictable.

There are three main features that characterize the agency’s new streamlined approach to licensing:

  1. Collecting fewer documents as part of the license application.
  2. Relying on the applicant’s attestation that they have provided complete and accurate information.
  3. Giving the applicant the responsibility for knowing and understanding the laws and rules around marijuana licenses, and ensuring that their business will comply with those rules.

As part of the streamlining process, OLCC will ask applicants to complete updated paperwork which aligns with the temporary rule. We recognize that many applicants have already filled out and submitted paperwork for the license application, but the new set of paperwork is straightforward and will significantly reduce the time it takes OLCC staff to evaluate the license application.

Under the streamlined licensing process, a complete application will typically include:

  • An Application Packet for the appropriate license type. These forms have been streamlined to collect the minimum necessary amount of information. They also now include attestations that OLCC staff will rely on to be accurate when determining whether a license can be issued.
  • A Marijuana Applicant Questionnaire, along with an Individual History form for each individual who qualifies as an “applicant” for the license. The Applicant Questionnaire replaces all of the business structure forms that OLCC has historically collected. OLCC license investigators will no longer routinely collect detailed paperwork describing the structure and ownership of the business and analyze that information to determine which individuals and legal entities are “applicants.” Instead, it is the responsibility of the business to completely and accurately identify all “applicants.” The investigation process will not routinely consider other persons with a “financial interest,” although OLCC retains the authority to do so if necessary.
  • A map or sketch of the proposed premises and a floor plan for any indoor areas. New Premises Map Instructions are available that identify what information needs to be included on the map and floor plan. OLCC staff will rely on the applicant’s attestation that the map and floor plan(s) are complete and accurate.
  • A Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS). This requirement has not changed. An application must include this form, signed by the local government where the proposed premises is located, showing that the proposed license type is not a prohibited use at the proposed premises.

OLCC staff will continue to evaluate each applicant’s relevant criminal history and their record of compliance when previously licensed before issuing a license.

If an applicant has previously submitted fingerprints for a background check with another marijuana license application, OLCC staff will use the results of that license investigation rather than having the person submit new fingerprints. If an applicant has not previously submitted fingerprints, they will need to do so before the application is assigned to a license investigator.

OLCC will continue to contact applicants to confirm that they are prepared to complete the licensing process within 60 days before assigning them to a license investigator. As part of this contact, OLCC staff will provide instructions for applicants to submit fingerprints.  Do not submit fingerprints until you have received these instructions from OLCC staff.

The licensing timelines established in OAR 845-025-1135 still apply:

  • An applicant must complete the application process within 60 calendar days of being contacted by their license investigator.
    • If an applicant does not complete the process in 60 days and has not previously been in a “hold” status, the OLCC will un-assign the application and place it on hold until the Commission is able to reassign it; the reassignment will NOT take place until after other applications have been processed. Due to the volume of other license actions waiting to be processed, there could be a significant wait time before the OLCC reassigns the application.
    • If an applicant does not complete the process in 60 days and has previously been in a “hold” status, the application will be deemed incomplete and inactivated.

 

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency Social Equity Program Announces October Education and Outreach Session

MICHIGAN: The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has announced the date, time, and location for its October Education and Outreach Session.

Date:     Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Time:    10:00 AM
Place:   Zoom

While attendance is free, space is limited. Interested participants need to register for  the Education and Outreach Session at the following website:

On November 1, 2019, the MRA began accepting applications for licensure under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), for a marijuana retailer, marijuana processor, class B marijuana grower, class C marijuana grower, or marijuana secure transporter, from persons holding a state operating license pursuant to the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA).

On October 6, 2020, the MRA issued a bulletin announcing that on March 1, 2021, applications will then be accepted from any applicant for the following adult-use licenses:

  • marijuana retailer
  • marijuana processor
  • class B marijuana grower
  • class C marijuana grower
  • marijuana secure transporter

The Education and Outreach Session will highlight all the adult-use licenses that will be available to any applicant beginning on March 1, 2021. The MRA Enforcement Section will also be in attendance to provide information on the required inspections of marijuana establishments.

Representatives from the MRA’s social equity team and Enforcement Section will be holding a question and answer session following their presentations.

The Zoom link to attend the October Education and Outreach event will be sent to participants who register.

Aphria Announces Record Adult-Use Cannabis Gross Revenue in First Quarter Fiscal Year 2021

Sixth Consecutive Quarter of Positive Adjusted EBITDA

CANADA: Aphria Inc. announced record adult-use cannabis gross revenue in first quarter fiscal year 2021 and sixth consecutive quarter of positive adjusted EBITDA.

Net Cannabis Revenue Increased 103% from Prior Year Quarter.  Adjusted EBITDA from cannabis business of $10.4 million increased 11% from prior quarter. Cash cost per gram remained below $1.00 and decreased for the fourth consecutive quarter to $0.87

Key Operating Highlights – First Quarter Fiscal 2021

  • Record gross revenue for adult-use cannabis of $69.6 million in the first quarter, an increase of 23% from prior quarter and the sixth consecutive quarter of growth.
  • Net cannabis revenue of $62.5 million in the first quarter, an increase of 103% from prior year quarter.
  • Net revenue of $145.7 million in the first quarter, an increase of 16% from prior year quarter and decrease of 4% from prior quarter, solely due to lower distribution revenue driven by the COVID-19 global health crisis.
  • Cash cost to produce dried cannabis per gram of $0.87 in the first quarter, a decrease of 1% from the prior quarter, and decreased for the fourth consecutive quarter.
  • Adjusted EBITDA from cannabis business of $10.4 million in the first quarter, an increase of 11% from the prior quarter.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $10.0 million in the first quarter, an increase of 17% from the prior quarter.
  • Ended first quarter with a strong balance sheet and liquidity, including $400.0 million of cash and cash equivalents to fund planned Canadian and International growth.
  • Aphria transferred its stock exchange listing from the New York Stock Exchange to The Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) on June 8, 2020. This transition did not impact the Company’s primary listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: APHA).
  • Filed Prospectus supplement for $100 million (USD) At-the-Market program (“ATM Program”) on July 29, 2020 which the Company plans to use for acquisition opportunities.
  • Good Supply and P’tite Pof launched large-format SKUs, and launched new brand B!NGO, a large format, economy brand utilizing lower potency cannabis.

 Subsequent Events

  • Aphria entered into a Strategic Supply Agreement with Canndoc Ltd. (“Canndoc”), a subsidiary of InterCure Ltd., (TASE: INCR/INCR.TA), one of Israel’s largest and most established medical cannabis producers on August 4, 2020.
  • Liquidated the convertible note receivable from HydRx Farms Ltd.
  • Company completed its first certified European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (“EU GMP”) shipment of dried flower from its Aphria One EU GMP facility to CC Pharma, a leading distributor of pharmaceutical products to more than 13,000 pharmacies in Germany.

Key Financial Highlights
(In thousands of Canadian dollars)

Revenue Overview
Source: Aphria Inc. August 31, 2020 MD&A1 [1]
Net revenue for the three months ended August 31, 2020 was $145.7 million, an increase of 16% from $126.1 million in the same period last year. First quarter fiscal year 2021 net revenue was 4% lower when compared to the prior quarter net revenue of $152.2 million, as significant increases in net cannabis revenue were offset by lower distribution revenue at CC Pharma in Germany.  The decline in distribution revenue is largely a function of the impacts of the COVID-19 global health crisis, including a reduction in the number of elective medical procedures and in-person visits to physicians and pharmacies

The average retail selling price of medical cannabis, before excise tax, increased to $7.38 per gram in the quarter, compared to $6.63 in the prior quarter. The average selling price of adult-use cannabis, before excise tax, decreased to $4.15 per gram in the quarter, compared to $5.23 per gram in the prior quarter, primarily as a result of the initial pipeline fill of new large format offerings, including the introduction of B!NGO, an economy brand utilizing lower potency cannabis.

Adjusted cannabis gross profit for the first quarter was $31.5 million, with an adjusted cannabis gross margin of 49.7%, compared to $28.1 million and 52.9% in the prior quarter. The increase in adjusted cannabis gross profit and decrease in adjusted cannabis gross margin was primarily due to the release of large format products and the pipeline fill for B!NGO, our economy brand utilizing lower potency cannabis, which provided an increase in sales but at lower margins than the Company’s other branded products.

Adjusted distribution gross profit for the first quarter was $11.8 million, with an adjusted distribution gross margin of 14.4%, compared to $11.9 million and 12.1% in the prior quarter. The decrease in adjusted distribution gross profit was a result of the previously discussed decline in distribution revenue at CC Pharma in Europe.  The increase in the gross margin was a function of sales mix and improved cost management at CC Pharma in the quarter.

Selling, general, and administrative costs in the quarter increased to $54.4 million from $116.6 million in the prior quarter, and increased from $41.4 million in the prior year. The increase from the prior year was primarily due to increased operating costs associated with increased global operations and increased selling costs associated with our higher sales.

Net loss for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 was $5.1 million, or a loss of $0.02 per share, compared to net loss of $98.8 million, or a loss of $0.39 per share in the prior quarter, and net income of $16.4 million, or $0.07 per share for the same period last year.

Adjusted EBITDA increased by $1.4 million to $10.0 million for the first quarter compared to $8.6 million in the prior quarter. Adjusted EBITDA from the cannabis business for the first quarter was $10.4 million compared to $9.4 million in the prior quarter. The adjusted EBITDA loss from businesses under development for the first quarter was $2.8 million compared to a loss of $2.7 million in the prior quarter. Adjusted EBITDA from distribution business for the first quarter was $2.4 million, compared to $1.9 million in the prior quarter.

Since establishing its US$100 million  ATM Program on July 29, 2020, the Company has not drawn on the program.

The Company ended the first quarter with a strong balance sheet, including $400.0 million of cash and cash equivalents.

READ ON APHRIAINC.COM

Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Monthly Sales Figures (Updated October 5, 2020)

ILLINOIS: Sales of legal cannabis continue to grow here in the land of Lincoln, even as the rest of the US economy still struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Consumer demand for legal marijuana remains.  According to recently released data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, adult use cannabis sales reached $67.6 million in September, nearly $18 million to out of state customers traveling in from neighboring Indiana and other states where cannabis is not legally available.

Here are the latest official numbers:

Burns & Levinson Hosts Fourth Annual State Of The Cannabis Industry Conference Virtually On October 29, 2020

Cannabis startups invited to apply for opportunity to present one-on-one to investors in “Capital Connection” program.

MASSACHUSETTS: Burns & Levinson will host its fourth annual “State of the Cannabis Industry” conference – which will be held virtually and will focus on critical issues in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry – on October 29, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET. In addition to the event’s Q&A sessions, expert panels and keynote, Burns & Levinson is launching a new “Capital Connection” program to match cannabis industry startups with investors looking for early-stage companies to potentially fund or mentor. Cannabis startups will be selected through a competitive process to present their companies in private 20-minute online meetings with capital providers from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Emerging cannabis companies can apply here until October 16, but companies are encouraged to apply early.

The conference will feature an interview with Commissioner Steven Hoffman, Chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, in an exclusive one-on-one Q&A with Frank A. Segall, co-chair of the Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group at Burns & Levinson. Keynote speakers include: Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, and Mitchell Kahn, co-founder and CEO of Grassroots. Curaleaf, which is a leading medical and wellness cannabis operator in the U.S., closed a landmark $830 million acquisition of Grassroots in July 2020 – creating the world’s largest cannabis company.

The expert panels and Q&A sessions will tackle a wide range of issues impacting the cannabis industry including capital markets, M&A and investments, secured lending, workouts and restructurings, and developments in the hemp and CBD market.

“Despite the pandemic, we are still seeing significant business opportunities in the capital markets, investments and M&A areas to invest in and acquire cannabis, hemp/CBD and cannabis-related companies. We look forward to fostering these relationships through our Capital Connection program,” said Segall. “Even though we can’t physically be together like in previous years, we are very excited about this year’s conference and the opportunities for participants to make connections, develop partnerships and learn from our peers and industry leaders,” added Scott Moskol, who co-chairs Burns’ Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group with Segall.

The conference sponsors include: Cohn Reznick, Hub International, GFA Federal Credit Union, Nucleus One, Green Check Verified, Paragon Payroll, and Elevate Northeast.

Burns & Levinson was the first major Boston corporate law firm to develop a cannabis business practice, and has been advising cannabis businesses, entrepreneurs and investors across the country for over seven years. The firm has unrivaled experience in cannabis and hemp/CBD business formation and corporate structuring, private placements, venture capital, M&A, securities, banking issues, fund formation, debt and equity financing, restructuring and receiverships, real estate acquisitions and leasing, intellectual property protection, 280E taxation issues, and cannabis litigation.

The firm is well-known for its role in the cannabis banking industry and has worked with multiple financial institutions to establish a framework that allows them to accept cannabis-derived deposits. Burns & Levinson is currently working with regulated financial institutions and non-regulated private funds to set up first-of-their-kind cannabis lending programs. The firm is also among the top law firms in the country handling high-level corporate and financing deals in the private and public markets in the cannabis market.

For more information about the conference and to register click here. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kristen Weller at kweller@burnslev.com.

 

Metrc Awarded Oklahoma Seed To Sale Contract

OKLAHOMA: The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has signed a contract with Metrc, a national company in 14 states, for the implementation of a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system. The contract creates a system to track marijuana plants and products from a plant’s growth stage through sale to patients. It serves as part of OMMA’s larger efforts to ensure accountability and safety within the state’s medical marijuana industry.

OSDH Names Twelve Member Medical Marijuana Food Safety Standards Board –

OMMA Interim Director Dr. Kelly Williams said “The seed-to-sale system will greatly expand our compliance capabilities and improve the effectiveness and speed of any future recall efforts. It will also allow us to detect unusual patterns that may indicate product diversion.”

Metrc offers integration features with many seed-to-sale software systems used at an individual-level by licensees, and all commercial licensees in the state will be required to either integrate with or input their information into the state’s seed-to-sale system.

Dr. Williams added, “We know that businesses will have many questions in the coming weeks, and we will answer them as quickly as possible.” OMMA will also keep the public updated as the system is implemented. It is expected to take up to six months.

OLCC Suspends Marijuana Laboratory Licensee

Marijuana Products Tested At Unlicensed Location

OREGON: On September 21, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the recreational marijuana lab licensee of Ecotest Labs in Phoenix, OR.  Ecotest Labs must not exercise any license privileges, or engage in any delivery or receipt of marijuana items, at the licensed premises, or any other premises until further order by the OLCC.

The immediate suspension was based on a series of violations which the OLCC used to determine that Ecotest’s continued operation represents a serious danger to the public health and safety. The licensee for Ecotest Labs is Proper Rental Management, LLC.

On July 23, 2020, the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ORELAP) informed the Commission it had suspended some of Ecotest’s testing accreditations for failing to meet required testing procedures and standards. ORELAP also suspected testing equipment had been relocated from the licensed premises in Phoenix, OR to an unlicensed location in Hillsboro, Oregon, where unregulated testing was taking place, and that testing results were being entered into METRC, the OLCC’s Cannabis Tracking System (CTS). In response, the OLCC launched an investigation.

The licensee told OLCC inspectors they had been experiencing problems with their accreditation, but had been recertified. The licensee also confirmed that since August 16, 2020, they had been transferring marijuana product to their unlicensed location in Hillsboro, while justifying incorrectly that ORELAP rules allowed for such transfers.

Upon further review of the licensee’s METRC accounts, OLCC discovered that Ecotest continued to conduct testing at this unlicensed, unaccredited Hillsboro location despite being informed by both OLCC and ORELAP that this activity was not permissible. At that point-in-time, the licensee had NOT submitted an application for a new location or for a change of location.

On September 2, 2020, OLCC expanded the investigation to include other state agencies: ORELAP, Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Agriculture. Ecotest Lab – Immediate Suspension September 30, 2020.

On or about September 9, 2020, Ecotest’s licensed lab, located in Phoenix, was destroyed by the Almeda wildfire. Since then the licensee has not had a licensed premises where it could operate an OLCC approved lab, but had continued to test marijuana products through the unlicensed location in Hillsboro.

The licensee informed the Commission that it would be permanently moving its’ lab operations to the unlicensed Hillsboro location, and because the loss of the licensed location in Phoenix was caused by wildfire, it was not required to have OLCC approval, which is incorrect. OLCC staff then noticed that the licensee continued receiving marijuana samples and entering lab test information into its METRC account, which indicated that the licensee was continuing to operate at the unlicensed Hillsboro location.

The OLCC will be working to help recreational marijuana licensees impacted by wildfires, including expediting relocations according to required OLCC rules. However, some of the violations charged to Ecotest occurred before the licensee was impacted by wildfire, which impacts the business relocating and legally resuming testing of marijuana products.

Based on the initial investigation, the OLCC determined there was enough evidence to warrant the immediate suspension of Ecotest’s laboratory license. The OLCC investigation is continuing, and the licensee is entitled to exercise their administrative hearing rights to challenge the OLCC’s actions.

The OLCC has identified at least 160 affected licensees that received marijuana product tested for potency by Ecotest on or after August 21, 2020, and the agency will work with those licensees on a remedy to have the product re-tested. The OLCC has placed an administrative hold in CTS to prevent further distribution of product tested by Ecotest. Any potency tests conducted by Ecotest on or after August 21, 2020 will require retesting by an accredited, OLCC licensed laboratory for potency.