By Katharine Hargreaves, AROYA Contributor
2021 has brought a lot of change to cannabis regulations nationwide (what else is new?).
In Oregon, already a state known for its progressive stance on cannabis (and the first state to decriminalize possession of cannabis back in 1973), this year might prove to be a watershed moment for the industry at large, and for the Beaver State in particular.
Cannabis is a billion-dollar-plus industry in Oregon. The thriving economy of the Emerald Triangle, which includes Southwestern Oregon in addition to a sizable chunk of Northern California, is experiencing explosive growth and record cannabis sales -- blowing past estimated benchmarks every year.
However, the industry in Oregon has also experienced considerable setbacks (such as an unfavorable federal tax code).Thankfully, the Oregon Legislative Assembly has stepped up to provide important new guidance for cultivators in the state. Here’s a breakdown of the new laws and regulations:
- SENATE BILL 408
Senate Bill 408 will relax some of the regulations that previously limited growth. To address adverse effects and impacts due to overregulation, the new law takes effect January 1, 2022.
So what does this mean for those in the cultivation game? The new law includes provisions that allow for the following, among other changes:
- Simplified rules regarding tracking of documents for deliveries.
- The ability to transfer certain marijuana products between producers and processors with common ownership.
- An increase of concentration limits in edibles
- Stricter and more specific guidelines around when or why the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) can delay the processing, approval, or denial of a license application
The streamlined and clearer guidance, coupled with more lax restrictions, will allow small businesses and cannabis production houses even greater opportunities for growth.
Overall, SB408 is a huge win for the Oregon cannabis industry. Not only does it lower barriers for those entering the space, it also improves the industry’s commitment to sustainable practices that will further reduce reliance on plastics.
Additionally, an increased focus on compliance-based approaches with local business owners means everyone from seed to sale is more likely to receive proper training and education on how best to work within the existing regulations – instead of facing punitive measures should they fail to comply.
- HOUSE BILL 2519
One exciting development is House Bill 2519, which allows for the delivery of cannabis items by retailers to consumers in adjacent cities or counties, as long as those locations have adopted ordinances that allow for such actions.
- HOUSE BILL 3000
Lastly, 2021 saw a significant omnibus bill around cultivation passed. Many of these new laws take direct aim at unlicensed growers, cultivators of artificially derived cannabinoids, and those aiming to circumvent the legal cannabis industry.
House Bill 3000 does a lot in regards to regulation, but some points of note include:
- Authorizes the OLCC to further regulate artificially derived cannabinoids
- Prohibits anyone who isn’t a licensed cannabis retailer from selling industrial hemp products or commodities to consumers
- Requires the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to conduct criminal record checks on applicants who are seeking to procure an industrial hemp grower license
- Requires documentation of destruction or remediated hemp crops to ODA
- Establishes a task force to submit reports on cannabis and cannabinoid-derived products’ sale, public health, legality, and safety
While popular with constituents and cannabis companies, Oregon unfortunately failed to pass a related social equity bill. After several months of trying to get the proposal off the ground, the bill was put to bed before it made it out of committee.
While these are the most notable changes in Oregon this year, watch for more updates, laws, rollbacks, and formalization to come in the near future, shifting the landscape in Oregon … as the laws continue to do so all across the country.
Photo by everett mcintire on Unsplash