Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jul 2016
Source: Portland Mercury (OR)
Column: Ask a Pot Lawyer
Copyright: 2016 The Portland Mercury
Author: Vince Sliwoski


It's Not Hard, But You'll Need to Study Up-and Pony Up

Do I really have to pay $100 to work in recreational marijuana?

YES, YOU REALLY DO. And you must pass a test and a criminal 
background check. If you conquer these three labors like a modern-day 
Heracles, you should be golden.

Oregon recently followed Colorado's lead in requiring that weed 
industry workers carry papers. Whereas Colorado workers sport classy 
"badges," however, Oregon workers will just be getting "permits." 
This permit requirement applies to everyone toiling in the Oregon 
Liquor Control Commission's (OLCC) seed-to-sale system. Their 
counterparts in the medical marijuana program, as well as lab and 
research certificate employees, are exempt. So if you really, really 
hate tests, or you are a pauper or felonious type, this may not be 
your enterprise.

The test itself is a breezy, 30-question, multiple-choice affair, 
whereby one must demonstrate minimum competency (21 correct answers) 
on a computer. In that regard, it feels a bit like a DMV exercise. 
The pot exam is nicer, though, because you can take it in the comfort 
of your home. It's also no big deal if your eyes are bad, and no one 
inquires about your weight or the fate of your organs. Most of the 
test questions are based on program rules; others are common-sense 
"how to do life" stuff. I know these things because I took the test 
myself. And I was pleased to pass.

If the OLCC is reading this, I hope they will not mind if I give a 
few gentle pointers. One is to read through the helpful "education 
materials" posted on the OLCC website. Another is to avoid choosing 
the following wrong answers, which were included on my exam: (1) it 
is okay to smoke pot as a customer tutorial; (2) it is okay to smoke 
pot in the parking lot with a customer to "make it legal"; and (3) 
you cannot sell marijuana to old people. Altogether, the pot exam is 
sort of fun to take and if you start to mess up, you can really steer into it.

Assuming you pass, I should advise that any permittee who fails to 
follow program rules is subject to a five-headed hydra of possible 
administrative sanctions, and that employers themselves may be liable 
for employee misdeeds. If a permittee or employer wishes to challenge 
an OLCC sanction, that challenge can be heard before an 
administrative law judge. The judge reviews the OLCC decision and 
asks herself if the decision is subject to reversal for being 
"arbitrary and capricious." Then, she tends to decide that it was not.

The idea behind pot worker permits is similar to the OLCC requirement 
for alcohol service permits, although alcohol permits are not 
required for back-end industry workers. With pot, however, states 
tend to regulate comprehensively, because the federal government 
expects it. So sharpen your pencils and empty your change bowls. The 
permitting process is now underway.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom