On December 22, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) adopted a large packet of rules amendments that incorporate the many cannabis bills signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown this year, as well as “technical amendments [made] in response to market realities.” These changes, effective December 28, 2017, include:
- implementation of mandatory seed-to-sale tracking for medical cannabis;
- a new regulatory regime for hemp and hemp products that allows hemp products into Oregon’s recreational cannabis supply chain;
- new rules governing Marijuana Promotional Events;
- new canopy limits for growing immature plants outside of the standard canopy areas;
- an exception to the retailers-must-be-1,000-ft-from-a-school rule if there is a physical or geographical barrier between the retail site and the school that prevents children from traveling to the retailer, such as a river;
- new certifications for recreational wholesalers that can now trim cannabis, and can offer mobile for-hire trimming services;
- some minor changes to transportation rules;
- a small change to the definition of “financial interest” that will have a big impact on what investors must be pre-approved by the OLCC;
- a new prohibition on sales through walk-up windows to complement the existing prohibition on drive-thru sales (Makes you wonder who came up with the work-around that led to this rule change); and
- micro-tier producers can now do some processing of cannabis concentrates.
Because the changes cover quite a bit of ground, we’ll dig into several of these in more detail in future installments in this series. For now, we will focus on the new Marijuana Promotional Events, governed by OAR 845-025-1335. This new administrative rule allows recreational licensees to display their products at trade shows, which is something many of our clients have been eager to do for a while.
Under the new rules, trade shows or similar events will be organized by a single licensee or “Event Organizer”, that will be the primary contact with the OLCC. The Event Organizer must submit an application to the OLCC at least 28 days before the event that will include the names and signatures of any participating licensees, the amount and type of cannabis items that will be on display, and a control plan that explains how the participating licensees will prevent violations.
Assuming the OLCC approves an application, the participating licensees may bring and display marijuana and marijuana products from their inventory (sorry, no hemp). All of the marijuana must be returned to the licensee’s premises at the end of the event. Thus, these trade shows are not an opportunity to sell or otherwise distribute any cannabis products. Even samples are prohibited.
The ban on samples will probably dissuade some members of the public from attending, but that rule is no different than the ban on samples from licensed dispensaries generally. On the licensee side, trade shows may prove invaluable for smaller industry players hoping to distinguish themselves in a very competitive market. The other possibility, of course, is that licensees may find the regulations too strict, and decline to participate.
Check back soon for another dive into the new rules governing Oregon’s cannabis market. And Happy New Year!