The OLCC announced yesterday that it will “pause” processing new applications for marijuana business licenses on June 15, 2018. The stated reason behind this dramatic announcement is to shift resources to renewal applications and existing applications. The timing of the announcement so soon after the release of Oregon’s US Attorney Billy Williams’ enforcement priority memo expressing concern over Oregon’s “overproduction” is noteworthy. The OLCC gave no indication about how long this stop on new licenses will last. Will it be just long enough for the legislature to pass a new law limiting recreational marijuana licenses in Oregon? Who knows. Regardless, it would be wise to get your application submitted to the OLCC before June 15, 2018 if you are planning to start a new marijuana business.


As many of you know, the OLCC announced today that the Commission will be re-focusing its resources to concentrate on enforcement related to existing cannabis licenses and working through the current, enormous, applicant pool. As a result, they will pause the acceptance of new applications starting on June 15th. While not officially a moratorium on new licenses, this break will, in theory, allow the OLCC to clear out the significant licensing log jam and spend the time and energy required to fulfill it’s enforcement and regulatory obligations.

“In order to ensure that the OLCC is fulfilling its regulatory duties and providing timely responses to businesses in the industry, we must focus on the current participants in the system and preserve for the Oregon Legislature its consideration of the necessity for further statutory controls on marijuana licensing in 2019,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

The OCA will continue to monitor the situation and provide more information when we learn it. The OCA will also be seriously considering our positions going into the 2019 legislative session as they relate to improved OLCC funding, lifting the moratorium to add new licenses and the myriad of potential consequences of this temporary, and potentially more permanent, halt to licensing. Additionally, we are unclear at this time how this announcement will impact the timing of ownership changes and license acquisitions as well as whether or not licenses submitted between now and June 15thneed to be complete applications including a LUCS. More information to follow.

Additionally, a group of OCA leadership circle members sat down today for a question and answer with Jesse Sweet, Administrative Policy & Process Director of the OLCC, to discuss other topics facing the Oregon cannabis industry. This discussion was incredible productive and covered several other important issues including:

  • Social Consumption- this continues to be high priority for the OCA and we are working hard to ensure that other stakeholders, allied organizations and the OLCC can find common ground for a bill this session that will not receive as much pushback from public health and Associations of Cities and Counties as previous concepts.
  • Diversion- the OCA will collaborate with the OLCC and others to ensure that, by tightening the rules around wasting and disposal- without making them overly onerous, the questions around diversion out of the licensed system can be more completely answered.
  • METRC- the OCA and it’s members have identified a series of challenges with the METRC system and we are working to try and rectify the more serious problems by providing insight to the OLCC.