Oregon has made headlines recently for its unfortunate dilemma of a cannabis surplus within the state. While the Oregon State Senate attempts to tackle the issue through legislative bills, Oregon residents had the opportunity to speak with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). Stakeholders within the cannabis industry and the general public met with members of the OLCC in the city of Ashland on July 17 and 18.
Although the agency’s original purpose was to regulate the sale of alcohol, the OLCC now also oversees the sale of cannabis within the state through the Recreational Marijuana Program. “Authorized to make recreational marijuana available to consumers and licensed businesses through retail marijuana stores,” the program monitors cannabis cultivation, transportation and sale according to the organization’s official website. Along with the Recreational Marijuana Program, the OLCC is comprised of the Distilled Spirits Program and the Public Safety Program.
Any professionals in the cannabis industry or residents who wanted their voices heard by the OLCC met the commission. This was also an opportunity to meet some of the newly appointed commissioners that joined the OLCC. Jennifer Currin, Hugh Palcic and Kiauna Floyd all stepped into their roles at the OLCC in 2019. The three of them join Marvin D Révoal, Matt Maletis, Michael E. Harper and Paul Rosenbaum as the board of commissioners.
The session to discuss recreational cannabis commenced at 6 p.m. in the Rogue River Room at Southern Oregon University and concluded three hours later. Discussion topics included a moratorium on producer licenses, exporting cannabis, alterations to the cannabis program and social consumption.
“The goal of these listening sessions is to give those in the marijuana and wine industries the opportunity to meet face-to-face with commissioners,” Commission Chair Paul Rosenbaum shared.
The meeting organizers also took the time to present the 2019 bills and later welcomed the audience to inquire further and voice any concerns. Hearing from the public provides the commission with insight on how residents feel about certain issues and allows them to use the information to assist in providing suggestions while new rules are created, adjusted or repealed.
“The OLCC is committed to making these industries successful while still meeting our regulatory obligations,” said Rosenbaum. The following day was designated as the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Usually set in Portland, the meeting in Ashland became a unique moment for new audience members to bear witness in person when these gatherings are usually posted on the OLCC website. Future meetings will also take place in other Oregon cities as the commission’s effort to open the floor to leaders in the community and residents everywhere.
“The goal of these listening sessions is to give those in the marijuana and wine industries the opportunity to meet face-to-face with commissioners.”
Those who are interested in attending future sessions can register for those events online or contact Mark Pettinger, OLCC Marijuana Program spokesperson, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Toward the end of summer and into early fall, Oregon residents can also look out for openings in the Rules Advisory Committee held by the OLCC. The committee will review current regulations in effect as well as the cannabis industry’s current operations.
The OLCC encourages businesses within the cannabis industry to apply and seek involvement to provide fresh eyes on existing policies. The advisory committee hopes to be a pathway for increased participation by the public during the buildout of administrative rules. To qualify, those interested may complete the OLCC Fall 2019 Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee Recruitment form.
To learn more about the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, visit oregon.gov.