2 December 2016

Coming into the legalized game after Colorado & Washington. One might have hoped that in Oregon, the desire was there, to learn from the mistakes of others at the outset.

Voting citizens hoped that in the halls of government there would be an understanding that creating a sensible regulated market with good staffing levels and common sense processes would get the industry on its feet and paying tax dollars as quickly as possible.

Instead growers flouting rules on pesticides and confusion verging on incompetence at the Department of Agriculture have left businesses who have invested millions with retail spaces that are beginning to look like soviet era department stores.

According to the Oregon Cannabis Association state authorities might, and we stress the word “might” be turning the corner

Here’s where we are with testing according to the OCA

Testing– we have been informed that new testing regulations are coming out that will, supposedly, lighten the burden on business. These may include changes to batch size, process validation, randomization and tinctures. Please read these carefully when they come out and provide feedback as to whether they go far enough to fix the problems around cost and delay.

As for the ODA the following statement doesn’t bring confidence

ODA– the OCA understands that the ODA, the agency that regulates and enforces pesticide law in Oregon, will be, for a short period of time, changing their enforcement policy concerning failed tests and detainments of facilities and product. We are anxiously waiting to see the language.

It is our sincere hope that the combination of these two changes will provide some much needed relief and the OCA government relations team has been working hard, along with others, to make these changes happen.

And the following statement describes what some may describe privately as a cluster………!!

Just around the corner: OCA will be focusing time and energy on the pending processor deadline of December 31st. As you all know the OHA provisional processor list “expires” on December 31st and all processor, of all kinds, must be licensed by the OLCC or OHA to continue to operate. We believe that meeting that it will be very difficult for OHA and OLCC to license all of the pending processors and are working on what extending that deadline, in some form, might look like. 

And if you think we are being a touch negative it’s not just us who are noticing the ongoing confusion

Bill Stewart writes in our sister publication, The Cannabis Law Journal   “Oregon: Cannabis Testing as Envisioned by the Keystone Cops”

Yesterday Ganjapreneur also picked up on the story with their piece Strict Testing Requirements Oregon $10Million In Cannabis Tax Revenue, Close Businesses

In which they quote local economist Beau Whitney

October was a defining, if not catastrophic, month for Oregon’s cannabis industry, which, until then, was growing at a very fast rate,” Portland economist Beau Whitney said in a Nov. 30 news release issued jointly by the Oregon Cannabis Business Council and Whitney Economics. “OHA’s new testing rules, which very few existing operations can presently comply with, virtually crippled the supply chain of adult-use and medical cannabis, from grower to retailer.”

We know budgets are tight but why not spend a little upfront on outsourced organization(s) who can get the programs, testing and licensing in order whilst at the same time training state govt operatives the processes to do the job properly.

This may mean a bit of a delay to some of those desperately needed funds for schools and the education system but a managed and efficient system will ensure higher tax revenues and lower overall costs to manage the program in the years to come.

And while we are on the subject a couple of months back we heard on OPB (radio) that tourism authorities in the state hadn’t thought about how to sell / market cannabis legalization to state visitors and since that report we’d suggest that the sum total of nothing has been done on this front.

Oregon always says it loves visitors who come enjoy the state and then leave. The cannabis tourist would be the almost perfect visitor, likely to fill the state coffers at every turn. Isn’t it time somebody started making some decisions in advance of summer 2017.