OLCC Approves Random Testing of Marijuana Products

The action stems from the 2019 vaping crisis.

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Portland, OR -- PRESS RELEASE -- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has given the go-ahead for random testing of marijuana products for the presence of undisclosed ingredients and additives. The Commission approved the permanent rule for Audit, Compliance and Random Testing at its regular monthly meeting on April 16, 2020.

OLCC staff recommended the testing approach in the wake of the 2019 EVALI respiratory illness outbreak.  That public health crisis resulted in the hospitalizations and deaths of hundreds of people known to vape nicotine and cannabis. In Oregon, 22 people were afflicted with vaping-associated lung injuries, including two fatalities.

During the vaping crisis OLCC took the position that specific additives suspected of being contained in nicotine and cannabis vaping products were adulterants and based on existing OLCC rules should not to be contained in marijuana products. But the OLCC lacked specific authority to require random sampling and testing to detect adulterants and other contaminants in the marijuana products of licensees. The rule, which takes effect April 20, 2020, changes that. [OAR 845-025-5760]

The Commission also approved a temporary rule related to the pre-licensing inspections of recreational marijuana license applicants to align with the social distancing requirements of Gov. Kate Brown’s Executive Orders.

For the next six months the OLCC will not require an in-person inspection by OLCC staff of a proposed licensed premises. This will reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by limiting contact between Commission staff and license applicants. [OAR 845-025-1290]

“This is similar to the recent temporary change we made to our rules to allow licensed retailers to provide curbside delivery,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “We’re saying to the cannabis industry ‘we expect you to act responsibly’ and applicants are expected to abide by all of the rules. If they do not they will be subject to violations and the OLCC will act quickly in order to ensure public safety.’”

After four years of licensing Oregon’s cannabis industry, the Commission has greater confidence that licensees and license applicants are knowledgeable about OLCC regulations and can accept greater responsibility for meeting regulatory requirements

The Commission also ratified the following marijuana violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlement:

  • TREES PORTLAND in Portland will pay a $6,435 fine or serve a 39-day suspension for two recreational retailer marijuana license violations.

Licensee is Trees Portland, LLC; Trevor Hoffman, Member/Mgr.; Gregory Goodman, Member/Mgr.

  • FERN RIDGE FARMS* will either pay a $3,795 fine and serve a 21-day suspension or serve a 44-day suspension for four recreational marijuana producer license violations.

Licensee is JR Organic Farms, LLC; Rod Eisenberg, Member.

  • ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES* will surrender its recreational marijuana producer license for six violations. Each licensee agrees to accept a letter of reprimand.

Licensee is Alternative Remedies, LLC; Bryan Malicke, Member; Peter Hale, Member.