oregon liquor control commission

Oregon: Legislature Forcing OMMP Into OLCC And Will Make Patients Pay For It

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

SB 1057's latest amendments are on the schedule for another Public Hearing and Possible Work Session for the Tuesday, April 25th meeting of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization.

The Oregon Cannabis Connection reports that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission shall use the system developed and maintained for OLCC licensees:

1. To track the production, processing and transfer of cannabis by Oregon Medical Marijuana Program growers.

2. OLCC may conduct inspections and investigations, including inspections and investigations of OMMP grow sites.

This means that the OLCC will be in the backyard of every OMMP grower that is growing for more than two patients.

Patient-growers will be required to pay $2,000 annually to grow their own medicine at addresses where more than 12 plants are grown.

To protest these changes, contact the Joint Committee members. Their information can be found at: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Committees/JMR/Overview

Oregon: Cannabis Lobby Day and Rally at the Capitol

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Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), along with several other cannabis organizations, will be participating in Cannabis Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, February 8, 2016. A press conference is scheduled for noon, 12 pm. The free speech event, will feature speakers, music and vendors until 5 pm.

On February 2, the Joint Committee for Marijuana Legalization held a Public Hearing to discuss HB 4014 and SB 1511. Hundreds attended, but only a fraction where allowed to testify due to time restrictions.

HB 4014 makes changes to laws regulating production, processing, sale, use and governance of cannabis. As citizens, we must protect the OMMP and continue the fight for patient rights and access to medicine.

SB 1511 directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to register qualified marijuana producers, marijuana processors, marijuana wholesalers and marijuana retailers for purposes of producing, processing and selling marijuana and usable marijuana and medical grade cannabinoid products, cannabinoid concentrates and cannabinoid extracts. "We will be rallying to prevent over-regulation of marijuana under M91 by the OHA, OLCC, OAC and ONI that could hinder, rather than aid, the creation, regulation and stabilization of legal marijuana related businesses," said press liaison Michael Bachara of CRRH.

Oregon: 142 Marijuana Applications Received On First Day

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Monday was the first day for license applications to enter Oregon's new recreational marijuana retail market, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission had received 142 applications by 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Seventy-five of the applications came from growers, most of them planning operations in Clackamas, Jackson, Lane and Multnomah counties, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

Oregon doesn't plan to cap the number of marijuana licenses it will issue. According to a report from the liquor commission, the state will issue a total of 850 recreational marijuana licenses by the end of next year.

Applications are being accepted from marijuana processors, wholesalers, retailers, producers, laboratories and researchers, but as of Tuesday morning, no labs or researchers had applied, according to the OLCC.

The counties with the largest number among all applicants so far, according to the OLCC, are Multnomah County with 30; Clackamas County with 18; Jackson County with 17 and Lane County with 16 applications.

Oregon: Retail Marijuana Rules Adopted; On Site Consumption Prohibited

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana stores will be prohibited from allowing on site consumption, and wouldn't be allowed to sell both recreational and medical marijuana under preliminary regulations approved Thursday by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

More than 70 pages of rules were approved to govern Oregon's retail marijuana system once it is fully operational next year, reports Jonathan J. Cooper of the Associated Press. While medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to begin selling to recreational customers 21 and older on October 1, they can do so only until January 1.

By 2017, all companies producing or selling recreational cannabis will be required to follow the OLCC's rules for health, safety, and security. The rules must be in place for Oregon to start accepting applications in January for licenses to operate marijuana businesses.

The rules will limit the size of growing operations to 10,000 square feet indoors, and 40,000 square feet outdoors. The rules are an attempt to control the amount of cannabis entering the legal market. "It's a really tough issue, and I don't think we have the data at this point," said OLCC Chairman Rob Partridge.

The OLCC also bans on site use of marijuana in stores. Employees with medical authorizations can do so in private, along and out of view, but they can't be "intoxicated," whatever that means.

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Struggle While Recreational Marijuana Skyrockets

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A gold-rush mentality after recreational marijuana legalization in Oregon is part of what's leading medical cannabis dispensaries to close faster than ever.

Some medical dispensary owners had hoped that October 1, the day recreational marijuana sales became legal in Oregon, would be a saving grace for struggling businesses, reports Kristyna Wentz-Graff at The Oregonian.

"Most people are hanging on until the climate gets better," said Sam Heywood, co-owner of the Portland dispensary Farma, a few days before recreational sales went into effect. "If it didn't have that horizon where the regulatory climate is expected to improve, I suspect a lot of people would have given up by now."

But Donald Morse, director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, is skeptical cannabis will change the fortunes of struggling dispensaries. According to Morse, there seems to be a widespread expectation of making millions off Oregon's recreational marijuana market, but insiders say factors including over saturation, bad locations, amateurish business practices and the difficulty and expenses of running cash-only businesses are leading shops to close.

Outside companies are increasingly venturing into the recreational marijuana business, as well, putting more pressure on the existing medical dispensaries: competition. "The medical market will go away within a year," predicted Morse.

Oregon: Albany City Council Bars Recreational Marijuana Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon adults 21 and older will be able to legally buy recreational marijuana on October 1. Well, most of them. If you live in Albany, Oregon, your city council says you don't get to do that.

A large crowd of cannabis advocates filled the room, with about two dozen speaking to the council, "but they might have well stayed home," , reports Hasso Hering.

Four members of the Albany City Council blocked recreational marijuana sales in the town. Councilors voted 4-2, enacting an ordinance that bars medical marijuana dispensaries from selling recreational weed from October 1 through the end of 2016.

After that, recreational cannabis still can't be sold at medical dispensaries, but will be available at recreational retail stores which will be licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Voting for the ban were Councilors Floyd Collins, Bill Coburn, Bessie Johnson, and Rich Kellum. Voting against the ban, and thus actually representing their constituents who voted for recreational marijuana legalization, were Dick Olsen and Ray Kopczynski.

Councilors are also considering passing even more restrictions on marijuana sales. Among the ideas discussed:

• A buffer larger than the currently required 300 feet between dispensaries and residential zones

Oregon: Early Recreational Marijuana Sales Bill Signed By Governor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday signed legislation allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to start selling recreational cannabis to adult consumers on October 1.

Consumers 21 and older will be able to buy up to a quarter-ounce of pot per day at dispensaries, as well as seeds and up to four immature plants, under Senate Bill 460, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian.

This will be the first time medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to sell to people who don't have a medical card. Supporters of the measure said Oregon should go ahead with sales to divert traffic from the black market. Dispensary owners were also anxious to move into recreational marijuana sales, because the market is oversaturated on the medical side.

There will be no tax on products in the dispensaries until January 4, under the temporary sales program. After that, a 25 percent sales tax will kick in.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission plans to license a network of recreational cannabis retailers and plans to allow them to open sometime in the second half of 2016. Many medical dispensaries are expected to switch to the recreational market.

Recreational marijuana retailers are expected to offer a wider range of products, and will be allowed to sell up to an ounce at the time to adults.

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect July 1

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Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately

Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon passed with 56 percent approval, takes effect July 1 and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants (as long as they are out of public view) and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will remain illegal.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.

Oregon: Possession, Home Cultivation of Marijuana Become Legal For Adults July 1

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Oregon to End Wasteful and Racially Disproportionate Marijuana Possession Arrests; State Expects Significant Fiscal Benefits

Beginning July 1, adults 21 and older in Oregon will be able to legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside their home. Adults may also grow up to four plants as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure allowing for commercial retail sales is still in the works and will not be implemented until next year.

Oregon voters passed Measure 91 last November with 56 percent support. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C. passed a more limited measure that legalized possession and home cultivation of marijuana but did not address its taxation and sale due to D.C. law.

Alaska’s law started to take effect earlier than Oregon’s, with Alaska officially ending the criminalization of marijuana possession and cultivation in February. Thus Oregon is now the 4th U.S. state to begin implementing its marijuana legalization law.

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Ask For Lifeline To Recreational Market

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensary owners on Thursday begged Oregon lawmakers to let them sell to recreational cannabis users, once legalization is implemented on July 1.

"We don't know a single dispensary doing well in this over-saturated market," said Meghan Wallstatter, who along with her husband Matt owns the Pure Green dispensary in Portland, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian. She called recreational marijuana sales a "much-needed lifeline" for medical dispensaries.

The Oregon Health Authority has approved 310 dispensary licenses; another 93 are pending, according to a June 12 tally.

More than 130 dispensaries have been approved in Portland, and only a few of them are making money, according to consultant Sam Chapman, who said it could lead to a a big shakeout with only a few shops left open.

"If we truly want to keep this a craft industry and we want to empower the mom and pop businesses to be able to survive in this industry, we need to have early recreational sales," Chapman said. "A lot of these businesses are starting to drown."

The Oregon House-Senate marijuana committee is looking at language that would allow dispensaries to sell some cannabis products to recreational users while the Oregon Liquor Control Commission sets up its own retail network.

Oregon: Portland Police Say Bringing Marijuana From Washington Isn't An Issue

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Portland police on Wednesday said that Oregonians who travel to Washington state to buy marijuana to bring it back are "not an issue" as long as they stay within legal limits.

Beginning on July 1, Oregonians 21 and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana away from home, and up to eight ounces at home, under the recreational cannabis legalization law approved by voters last November.

Oregonians going to Washington to shop for marijuana are nothing new, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. Sales data released by the Washington Liquor Control Board for May showed that one recreational 502 shop in Vancouver -- just across the state line -- sold more marijuana than any other shop in the state, thanks in part to Oregonians, who account for about half of sales.

But Portland police said they don't see this as a problem.

"We are not doing interdiction on people who are going there to buy their weed and bringing it back," Sgt. Pete Simpson said. "Our drugs and vice division has not and does not focus on low level drug transfers of any kind. They are working large scale operations, which is not what we are talking about."

Oregon: What Legalization? Police Want $5 Million For Marijuana Enforcement

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization? What legalization? Advocates may rightly be asking this question after the Oregon State Police requested a $3.9 million budget increase to go after marijuana.

The OSP wants the money for 2015-20176 to pay for 11 full-time troopers and detectives to go after pot, reports Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week.

Since that's in addition to the $1.3 million the state police already requested for a legal marijuana enforcement budget earlier this year, one can't help asking oneself, where are the savings in marijuana enforcement that supposedly come with "legalization"?

The state police have declined comment.

The OSP request comes after a proposal by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission -- put in charge of implementing cannabis legalization -- to create "peace officers" to patrol legal cannabis, investigate black market sales, enforce weed taxes, and stop sales to minors.

The OLCC is aware of the state police's request, and expects the two agencies to "work together" on enforcing the state's marijuana laws, claimed Liquor Control spokesman Tom Towslee.

"We can see the need to have somebody from the state police here in the OLCC to handle to the dispatch," Towslee said, referring to an officer who could field calls from state troopers checking the licenses of people found with large quantities of marijuana.

Oregon: Marijuana Campaign Hires Lobbyist To Pass Expungement Law

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“We are going to put our political muscle behind this to make sure it gets passed.”

New Approach Oregon has hired a lobbyist to help pass bills in the Oregon Legislature that would reduce marijuana offenders’ jail sentences and clear marijuana-related offenses from criminal records.

The group behind Oregon’s law to legalize marijuana is also teaming up with the Bus Project to organize volunteers, host phone banks and win endorsements for House Bill 3372 and Senate Bill 364. Both bills await hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 364 has already passed the Senate.

“We built a powerful organization to legalize marijuana,” said Anthony Johnson, executive director of New Approach Oregon, “and we plan to use it to make sure these bills are passed. Let’s stop ruining lives by treating marijuana as a crime and start saving money by getting people out of jail and giving them a fresh start.”

Click here to sign up to help the new #FreshStartOregon campaign

Oregon: State Marijuana Chief Fired By Liquor Control Commission

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tom Burns, who directed marijuana programs for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, was fired on Thursday.

Burns saw implementation of the state's medical marijuana dispensary program, and had led efforts to establish a recreational cannabis market in the state after voters approved legalization last fall, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. Burns confirmed his dismissal in an interview with The Oregonian Thursday afternoon.

Declining to comment any further, Burns directed questions to Steven Marks, executive director of the OLCC; Marks couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Rob Patridge, chairman of the liquor control commission, declined to comment on Burns' firing, characterizing it as a "personel matter."

The position's duties will be taken on by Will Higlin, the OLCC's director of licensing, until a permanent replacement is named.

The agency announced that Burns' firing will not affect the timeline for drafting recreational marijuana industry rules and regulations.

State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), co-chair of the House-Senate committee on implementing recreational marijuana legalization, said she was shocked and disappointed by the news of Burns' firing.

"I don't know how we're going to get through this without him," Burdick said. "He's the most knowledgeable person on marijuana policy in the state. It's a real shock. It's going to be a real loss to the legislative effort."

Oregon: County Considers Excluding Marijuana From Farm Zones

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One Oregon County is considering excluding marijuana from farm zones, leading to questions about how cannabis will be regulated under legalization and the state's land use system.

Since voters approved legalization under Measure 91 last November, Linn County officials have been bombarded with questions about where citizens can grow it, according to County Commissioner Roger Nyquist, reports Mateusz Perkowski at the Capital Press.

"We're even seeing real estate ads advertising properties as turnkey ready for marijuana production," Nyquist said.

County commissioners are considering limiting commercial marijuana production to light industrial and commercial zones, according to Nyquist, who said the commissioners were "concerned" about "problems resulting from growing marijuana outdoors near homes."

"There are security issues if you have millions of dollars worth of crop sitting next to families," he said.

But marijuana proponents see the proposal as a try to circumvent Measure 91. Using zoning rules to create a "functional ban" on marijuana dispensaries would be preempted by legalization, according to attorney Leland Berger, who advises cannabis businesses.

"I am starting to see municipalities who are bigoted against cannabis utilize land use and zoning laws to avoid state preemption," Berger said.

Oregon: Gov. Kitzhaber Claims Home Marijuana Possession Limits Are Too High

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon voters -- a whopping 56 percent of them -- approved Measure 91, which legalized marijuana, up to half a pound of it at home. But now Gov. John Kitzhaber has apparently decided he knows better than voters, and on Tuesday he indicated me might ask the Legislature to set lower limits.

Kitzhaber claimed he had "many concerns" about the voter-approved initiative, questioning the logic of allowing adults to possess up to eight ounces of cannabis at home yet just one ounce in public, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian.

"The amount you can actually grow in a home-grow operation seems to me to exceed the amount that you're supposed to have legally," Kitzhaber said. "I don't know how you enforce that."

Kitzhaber did not say what kinds of possession limits he'd like to see.

Possession limits were deliberately set higher at home to allow adults to grow their own marijuana and make concentrates and edibles, according to backers of Measure 91.

"Just like home brewing of beer and the home making of wine, you need to have reasonable rules for personal cultivators and hobbyists who want to produce their own marijuana," said Anthony Johnson, chairman of New Approach Oregon, which sponsored the 2014 initiative.

Oregon: Eastern Residents Voted Against Legal Marijuana; Urge Tight Rein On Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon voters last November chose to legalize marijuana. But some residents in the eastern part of the state still aren't ready to let go of prohibition.

Pendleton, an eastern Oregon town where the motto is "Let 'er buck" and the main attraction is the 105-year-old Pendleton Round-Up, may ban cannabis retailers from the city, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

"When it comes to a lot of our laws, they are determined by a couple of counties and Portland," whined Pendleton Mayor Phillip Houk. "We are used to that, so what we have to do is buck up and figure out what we are going to do."

Among many in eastern Oregon, especially more rural areas of the state, the marijuana's reputation as a gateway to hard drugs, mental illness, family dysfunction and addiction still seems strong, The Oregonian reports.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission on Thursday held the first of 10 statewide public forums as part of an effort to collect input from residents. The first two, in Baker City and Pendleton, attracted more than 200 residents from a mostly rural area.

"I am trying to picture what this is going to look like in our town," said John Day coucilwoman Lisa Weigum, 30, who drove 80 miles to attend the Baker City meeting.

Oregon: Sociologist Says Policy Will Determine Economic Impact of Legal Marijuana

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The economic impact of legalizing marijuana in Oregon is difficult to estimate because the potential market will depend in large part on what kind of policies would be adopted if a proposed ballot measure passes in November, according to an Oregon State University sociologist who studies the issue.

“Marijuana is already a serious economic force in Oregon,” said Seth Crawford, an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon. “When you consider the proposed excise tax and additional revenue from income taxes, it could become a sizeable income stream for the state.”

Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana production and use. Policymakers are trying to determine the economic impact of legalizing marijuana and Crawford’s research was recently cited in an economic report commissioned by backers of the ballot initiative, as well as by the state legislative revenue office.

If marijuana is legalized in Oregon, the state could net anywhere from $35 million to $105 million in new tax revenue per year, Crawford estimated in research published earlier this year in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.

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