The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission has spent the last 18 months crafting new rules to improve the state’s cannabis industry.
The OLCC announced in a December 28 press release that it would be implementing new cannabis rules that will take effect between 2022 and 2023. Steve Marks, OLCC executive director, addressed the need for these changes, expressing the desired outcome after the changes go live.
“These rules try to balance a number of different concerns—consumer health and safety, interests of small and large operators in our industry and public safety concerns around loopholes in the Federal Farm Bill of 2018, and the illicit farm production taking place in Oregon,” Marks said.
The source of these changes began with the approval of House Bill 3000 and Senate Bill 408. HB-3000 creates a foundation for limitations on “THC-laden hemp products from being sold unregulated in Oregon,” while SB-408 restructured penalties for licensees who violated the rules.
The press release also states that the violation categories that have been in place since 2016 are outdated, and the new rules plan to build off of the current industry landscape. Some of the new rules went into effect on January 1, 2022; however, other rules won’t immediately go live and will instead roll out from now through the beginning of 2023.
The OLCC notes that the “fading threat of Federal government action” due to the number of states that have legalized cannabis has also led to another rule change that restructures and reduces penalties for licensees who violate certain rules. OLCC Commissioner Matt Maletis admits that although it isn’t a perfect solution, it will still help the industry as a whole. “It may not make everybody happy, but it’s a pathway, and I think it solves a lot of the issues,” Maletis stated.
Rules will also be changing for consumers. After the new year begins, consumers will be able to purchase two ounces of usable cannabis (up from one). The amount of milligrams for edibles in particular will be increased from 50mg THC per package to 100mg THC, which will be eligible for sale after April 1, 2022. Additionally, “artificially derived cannabinoids” such as CBN or delta-8 products are now required to go through a review process to determine if they meet the standard of “New Dietary Ingredient,” with 18 months to ensure compliance.
Home delivery services will also be permitted in any city or county that allows it, and the OLCC is making plans to create a new section on its website to inform consumers about new delivery zones.
Marks concluded the press release with a reminder that there were many factors to these changes and the OLCC is confident it will improve the industry going forward. “We did listen to the public and did make significant changes to these rules, and I want to reiterate that we have come a very long way,” said Marks. “And this industry established success for Oregon. We are creating a successful business market, a successful consumer market. This is another big turn of progress.”
Oregon has met a variety of hurdles recently, including the still-thriving black market—so much that it was declared a state of emergency. However, legislation such as Senate Bill 893 is being crafted to combat illegal cultivation for the time being. Still, the state was also chosen to receive a $10 million grant to continue hemp research through the Global Innovation Center at Oregon State University. The grant program is known to be competitive, and Oregon researchers at OSU shared that they felt fortunate to be chosen among other elite institutions to receive the funds.