On Friday March 22, 2019, I attended the State of the Cannabis Industry event along with other members of the Green Light team. The featured speakers included, Danica Hibpshman, OLCC Director of Licensing, Madeleine Cane, OLCC Marijuana Program Coordinator, Anthony Geltosky, OLCC's only Packaging and Labeling Specialist, Sunny Summers, ODA Hemp Policy Coordinator, Marry Anne Cooper, Oregon Farm Bureau and Ken Helm, State Representative. Below are some of the highlights from the speakers.
From Danica Hibpshman, OLCC Director of Licensing:
- The OLCC has resumed processing producer licenses! They are currently working on producer applications submitted in January 2018.
- If you are one of the applicants who submitted in the first half of 2018, many of the forms have changed. While you continue to wait, you could submit updated forms which will make the approval process go smoother once you have an investigator assigned.
- The wait time on renewals is shortening. Plan ahead and submit any proposed changes well in advance.
- Change of business structure approvals are currently taking between 2 to 4 months. Approvals on change of location forms are taking 1 to 2 months.
- The OLCC is tightening the time it will give applicants to complete renewal applications. If you are not prepared within 30-days from being assigned an investigator, the OLCC could cancel your license.
- Guidelines will be coming soon from the OLCC which will clarify its definitions of "applicant" and "financial interest." The OLCC acknowledges the confusion caused by the current definitions and the resulting uncertainty. This will hopefully be a huge help to industry participants, but we'll have to wait and see.
- OLCC will be enforcing non-compliance with changes in ownership structure that are not pre-approved. OLCC may also begin charging a fee associated with these business changes.
- Hibpshman discussed SB 218 which proposes putting a cap on producer license and giving the OLCC the power to decide how to implement the moratorium. I asked her if there was a possibility that the OLCC could decide to apply the moratorium retroactively to all applications submitted after the June 2018 "pause." She answered that there are no plans in place one way or other, but she did indicate that it was a possibility. The number of lawsuits that would be filed, should the OLCC decide to cancel the producer applications filed after June 15, 2018, makes me question why this decision is even up for consideration.
From Madeline Kane, OLCC Marijuana Program Coordinator:
- ODA licensed hemp growers and hemp handlers can sell their products into the OLCC market if they obtain an OLCC hemp certificate. It takes less than a week to get the certificate from the OLCC.
- With the OLCC hemp certificate, hemp growers and handler must have their products tested and then can transfer raw material and processed material to OLCC licensees. Processed products can be transferred directly to OLCC retailers.
Packaging and Labeling Update:
- As of April 1, 2019, retailers can't accept products with old labels. Retailers have until 2020 to sell through existing inventory with old labels.
- Non-marijuana derived terpenes, including hemp, must be listed on the labels.
- Pre-rolls: Only need one UIP for multi-packs. Make it clear which strain is in each pre-roll.
From Sunny Summers, ODA Cannabis Policy Coordinator:
- Beginning 1/1/2020, delta-9 THC will no longer be the benchmark for THC. Instead, total THC will be the benchmark.
- If you wish to sell hemp clones, you need a nursery license in addition to your hemp grower's license.
- The ODA is not concerned about the origin of your hemp seeds.
- A Food Safety license is required if you are making a hemp product for sale for human consumption.
- Temporary rules have been issued making it illegal to falsify a Certificate of Analysis.
From State Representative Ken Helm - Legislative updates:
- HB2844 includes small scale processing in farm zones without a LUCS. The bill excludes marijuana, but hemp is included.
- SB365 addresses a few issues related to the “time, place and management” clauses in farm zones and limits counties’ abilities to place undue burdens on marijuana businesses. Specific to Deschutes county’s system and development charges, the bill limits the county’s ability to burden marijuana businesses with excessive charges. For example, Deschutes County would no longer be able factor in how many miles it takes an employee to drive to-and-from the farm, and then include those costs in order for the business to become licensed to do business in the county because no other types of farmers are subject to this policy. The bill also grandfathers in any marijuana businesses already issued a license if their county decides to reverse existing marijuana policies and disallow marijuana production in the future.
- HB2233 addresses the issue of social consumption and cannabis cafes. Representative Helm says this bill will not pass in its current form, but it should be taking a new form and may pass in the future.
- HB2382 is specific to Josephine County. The bill asks for marijuana producers to pay for law enforcement services within the county through taxation on a price per square foot based on their canopy space.
- HB2909 seeks to allow neighboring jurisdictions to participate in a voluntary, opt-in program to obtain the privilege of delivering marijuana products between the two counties.
- HB3211 discusses designating a third-party entity that will certify indoor marijuana producers’ growing practices as being environmentally efficient and sustainable. Representative Helm believes this will be an important certification for producers to brand themselves under and believes this will set Oregon apart as sustainable leaders within the cannabis industry.
- HB582 is the bill that starts the discussion of putting in the necessary infrastructure to get Oregon ready for exporting marijuana to our neighboring states once it is federally legal.