Pubdate: Sat, 31 Dec 2016
Source: Bulletin, The (Bend, OR)
Copyright: 2016 Western Communications Inc.
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Author: Joseph Ditzler


Marijuana rules still rankle

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved temporary rule changes Dec.
19 that take effect Sunday for recreational marijuana businesses.

In one change, growers who accept responsibility for illegally applying
pesticides will receive a warning for a first violation, according to an
OLCC news release Wednesday. Subsequent violations could result in harsher
penalties, including loss of an OLCC-issued license to grow marijuana.

The change is in keeping with regulations set by the Oregon Department of
Agriculture, said OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger on Thursday. Another
change allows makers of edible products with cannabis butter, a
concentrate, to produce that concentrate in the same commercial kitchen
where the edible product is also made.

Cannabis businesses may share commercial kitchen space with other cannabis
businesses, but not with unrelated businesses, such as caterers or other
food producers, Pettinger said.

The problem in Bend, said Cameron Yee, founder of Lunchbox Alchemy, a
marijuana processor, is finding a commercial kitchen at all.

The few in existence are leased to food businesses already or committed to
other marijuana businesses. Yee said he's purchased a lot in Bend on which
to build a new facility to replace the one his company leases in northeast

He said an inspector has visited the facility. Yee said he expects to have
a license by early January and that would allow his company to produce
extracts, concentrates and infused edibles to fill a shortage of those
products in Oregon. While dried marijuana flower remained relatively
abundant, processed forms of cannabis dried up after the Health Authority
imposed new rules regulating testing labs and product testing that took
effect Oct. 1. The shortage ensued because relatively few labs were
certified and licensed to test for pesticides, which created a product
bottleneck. All marijuana products must be tested for pesticides, potency,
water content and biological contaminants such as mold.

"I think we'll have our challenges, but we're working hard to make it
happen," Yee said Thursday. "Licensing and testing are still two of the
biggest issues."

Finally, the OLCC announced it will tighten up its oversight of permits
required of marijuana workers. The agency gave some leeway to licensees
after the requirement came into effect this year, Pettinger said. Workers
in most marijuana businesses were required after Sept. 1 to apply for
permits, similar to server permits required of employees who handle
alcoholic beverages.

The license holder is required to ensure that all employees have worker
permits. Starting Sunday, OLCC inspectors will begin checking employee
rosters against the employee permits.

Beginning Sunday, marijuana retailers must have an OLCC license in order
to sell recreational marijuana to adults age 21 and over. Dispensaries
without an OLCC license but registered by the Health Authority may sell
only to cardholders in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

As of Dec. 23, seven retailers in Bend had OLCC licenses to sell marijuana
to adults. Six others were approved for licenses but had not paid the fee
and taken possession of them, according to the OLCC.
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