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Navigating Oregon Medical Marijuana Grow Site Laws.

“One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.” – Zola

A few weeks back, we wrote about Oregon Senate Bill 1511, which takes some big steps to merge Oregon’s medical and recreational marijuana programs. The summary was one in our four part series on the new Oregon marijuana laws, which you can view here, here, here and here; along with a write up on the terrific new Oregon hemp bill, available here.

As of today, March 28, SB 1511 remains on Governor Brown’s desk awaiting signature. This has been the status since March 2, so we expect some action soon. The good news is that if the governor neither signs nor vetoes the bill within 30 days, it becomes law. So barring a big surprise, SB 1511 will take effect one way or another this week.

As we mentioned earlier, SB 1511 amends ORS Chapter 475B by extending the start of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) grow site plant count limits from March 1, 2016 to April 1, 2016.  Because SB 1511 is technically not yet effective, however, the plant count limits began on March 1. (If you are struggling to keep up with this stuff, a host of other deadlines for the OHA rules effective March 1 can be found here.)

Among its many provisions, SB 1511 provides a path for OMMP grow sites to exceed “mature” (flowering) plant count limits given at ORS Chapter 475B. However, the path is only available for locations where an Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) producer license application is pending, and certain OMMP requirements are met. For OMMP growers who hope to take refuge in this “stay,” two steps must be taken immediately.

First and most importantly, the grow site needs to file its OLCC producer license application on or before this Friday, April 1. Growers in opt-out jurisdictions will be relieved to learn that a land use compatibility statement (LUCS) is not required to stay the plant count limits. Second, the grow site needs to file a notice with OHA. That notice requires three things: (1) the name and signature of each grower at the grow site; (2) the name of each grow site patient; and (3) proof that a notice of the OLCC application has been sent to each patient by certified mail. OHA has clarified that an affidavit from an attorney will suffice on this last point.

If a grow site meets the above requirements, the grow site will be able to continue producing the number of mature plants being produced at the location as of the effective date of SB 1511. There are still a few days left to act, and if you have a grow site and you want protection under the stay and you still have not acted, you are cutting it really close! At the same time, all grow sites, even those not seeking refuge under the stay, should note the concurrent April 1 deadline for online registration and reporting.