Pubdate: Fri, 23 Oct 2015
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press
Author: Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press


MILWAUKIE (AP) - Marijuana stores will be prohibited from selling 
both recreational and medical marijuana and pot cannot be used on 
site under preliminary regulations approved Thursday by the Oregon 
Liquor Control Commission.

The more than 70 pages of rules will govern Oregon's retail marijuana 
system once it's fully operational next year. While marijuana stores 
began selling to adults 21 and older earlier this month, they are 
operating under temporary authority from the medical marijuana 
program. By 2017, companies producing or selling marijuana to the 
general population will have to abide by the OLCC's regulations for 
health, safety and security.

The adoption of rules is a critical step in creating the legal 
structure for retail marijuana. They must be in place for the state 
to begin accepting applications in January for licenses to operate 
marijuana businesses.

Most of the proposed rules were not controversial in an advisory 
committee of marijuana businesses, law enforcement and others that 
reviewed them.

But several of the proposals were hotly debated.

The commission's rules will limit the size of growing operations to 
10,000 square feet indoors and 40,000 outdoors. The limits are 
designed to ensure there's enough marijuana for the legal market, but 
not too much. Staffers tried to estimate demand based on the 
experiences in Washington and Colorado, the other two states that 
allow sales to adults, but nobody knows how much will be needed.

"It's a really tough issue, and I don't think we have the data at 
this point" to pick a precise number, said Rob Patridge, the OLCC chairman.

The OLCC also has a prohibition on using marijuana in stores. 
Employees with medical cards can do so privately - alone and out of 
view - to treat a medical condition, but they can't be intoxicated.

The rules also require marijuana businesses to be owned in the 
majority by people who have lived in Oregon for more than two years. 
That's to comply with a law approved by the Legislature earlier this 
year, but key lawmakers from both parties have since said they'd like 
to reconsider the rule.

Critics of the residency requirements worry that they may encourage 
businesses to come up with convoluted legal maneuvers to get around 
them. They also worry it will limit access to legitimate investment 
at a time when the state is trying to shift marijuana sales from a 
robust black market to a regulated one.

"Our own thinking on these issues has evolved over time," four 
lawmakers wrote to the commissioners in a letter date Oct. 9. "We now 
believe that broad residency requirements and significant limits on 
outside investment could do more harm than good."

The OLCC's proposed rules also will allow marijuana deliveries. 
However, they'll be subject to such tough restrictions that the 
commissioners said it would be uneconomical for delivery to be a 
significant part of anyone's business. Delivery vehicles, for 
example, couldn't have more than $100 of marijuana at a time.

The rules are temporary and could undergo changes before the OLCC 
adopts permanent regulations next spring or summer. OLCC officials 
have said they expect licensed stores to open in fall 2016, but no 
specific timeline has been established.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom