Oregon Regulatory News:  OLCC & OHA

 

OLCC Rulemaking Update

As our members may already know from our weekly update emails, the OLCC has been convening a standing marijuana advisory committee of stakeholders to illicit broader industry feedback on a range of issues.

The group is made up of cannabis trade associations, business owners, advocates, and legal professionals from all around the state who will continually work with the OLCC to improve their rules, systems, and policies.

The committee has so far been united in asking the OLCC to focus on two key areas for major improvements: Licensing and Compliance/Enforcement.

These conversations are ongoing, and we suspect they will be for many more months – but we have been playing a crucial role in educating the agency about the negative effects folks have been experiencing as a result of uncertainty and ongoing inconsistencies with enforcement/compliance issues.

For our members who are concerned about these changes and would like to weigh in, please reach out to us and share your thoughts on the matter.

OHA Possibly Expanding Lab Testing Requirements

As many of our members may already be aware from our earlier discussions, the OHA is currently initiating a course of conversations about possibly overhauling the state’s laboratory testing standards for cannabis.

Some of the proposed changes are significant, and would involve adding new types of tests such as those for mycotoxins, heavy metals, and microbiological contaminants.

The impact of these changes on producers (and, in turn, every other downstream business in the cannabis industry) is not insignificant, and some of the current proposals could cause testing costs to increase by 50-70%

Currently, we’re working closely on coordinating with our members serving on OHA’s rules advisory committee to provide industry input and to propose smart ways to modify their proposals – so we can achieve their goal of strengthening our state’s testing standards, but without adding huge costs.

Strengthening Oregon’s testing standards, in broad terms, is beneficial for our state’s producers and manufacturers because it further establishes the premium of the Oregon brand at the national level, while also putting us at the front of the line for a national export market once that goes live.

The rulemaking process for these proposed changes is still very much in its infancy, but it’s fair for us to expect the OHA to take some significant action to strengthen our testing standards over the course of the coming years.

We’re actively soliciting feedback from our members about how these proposed changes would effect their business – so if your business would be effected, contact us to share your insight and your story.

 

Budtender Survey with Veterans Administration & University of Pittsburgh.

Here’s a fascinating piece of news, and a great way for our folks to meaningfully engage with consumer-facing employees to build our collective cannabis knowledge.  ORCA was recently contacted by the Veterans Administration, who is working on a comprehensive study of what information cannabis consumers are currently hearing from frontline cannabis employees.

The VA and the University of Pittsburgh has put together a Comprehensive Budtender Survey to help determine exactly what information is out there now.

The goal of this study is to develop informational material for veterans – and since most veterans buy their pot from adult-use retailers, ostensibly its information for the general public – on how best to use cannabis.

In their own words:

Hello,

 We are reaching out on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Healthcare. We are writing to ask whether you would be willing to send this survey to front-line staff who interact with customers regularly

SURVEY LINK: 

https://pitt.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bqtdBPKEXnPaZ0x

The online survey will take 15-20 minutes to complete, and those who participate can choose to receive a $10 gift card or will be given a random chance to being chosen to receive a $250 gift card.

This survey is for a research study that will evaluate the decision-making involved in customer service and guidance provided to marijuana dispensary customers. The data will also help us to understand differences in training practices that may vary between states. We are contacting marijuana dispensary management throughout the United States in an effort to collect information through an online survey. This survey asks questions about staff training, knowledge about cannabis products, observations they make in their interactions with patients, and other cannabis-related topics. 

There are no foreseeable risks involved in taking the survey. We predict that this research will produce important findings that may benefit the cannabis industry and its customers, as well as healthcare providers who serve these patients. Participation is voluntary and the survey can be ended or withdrawn at any time. This study is being conducted by Dr. Jessica Merlin who can be reached at merlinjs@upmc.edu with any questions. 

We would like to maximize participation. So, if you would like to participate, please send the survey to as many eligible staff members as possible. A staff member is eligible to take our survey if they: 1.) have worked at the dispensary for at least 3 months, 2.) educate, counsel or otherwise help customers make decisions about cannabis, and 3.) are at least 18 years of age. Some eligible position titles include (but are not limited to): sales associates, patient care associates, sometimes called “budtenders” in recreational states, managers, and pharmacists. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

University of Pittsburgh 

Center for Research on Healthcare

As you can see, this is a very worthwhile use of your employee’s time (which we acknowledge is Not Free) because this can potentially help to achieve even greater normalize our industry, and help to encourage more consumers to consider the benefits of using cannabis for a variety of conditions.

Please please please – send this link along to your employees (especially if you are a retail business, send this link to your budtenders because we want to help the VA receive as much helpful feedback as possible.

If you have any questions as it relates to this survey, contact us by email at SURVEY@oregoncannabisretailers.com.