[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]I[/dropcap]t seems Oregon’s cannabis culture has become too relaxed in the eyes of some federal officials. So starting this fall, legal growers will be required to notify the state before harvesting their crops.
The new harvest notification policy, the first of its kind among legal cannabis states, went into effect last Saturday and is intended to ensure that cannabis legally grown in Oregon doesn’t make its way across state lines. Once a legal grower notifies the state they could be visited by inspectors who are looking for illegally diverted cannabis plants.
“They don’t do this to any other agricultural crop in the world,” said Matthew Miller, of Millerville Farms, in a statement for The Register Guard. “All it does is it make our margins go less and less—and we’re already doing just about everything at cost.”
Oregon’s climate is highly conducive to cultivating cannabis and, as such, has seen an abundance of cannabis in recent months. As of June, there were nearly one million pounds of usable cannabis flower in the state’s system and an additional 350,000 pounds of extracts, edibles and tinctures. The excess is so great that The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which regulates the state’s general use cannabis program, stopped accepting applications for new growing licenses so it could process the backlog.
Since July, Oregon has required medical cannabis growers to register with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. There are 750 medical cannabis growers with over 12 plants that had to register and their plants will be tracked from seed-to-sale like that grown by recreational cultivators. The state will utilize 16 inspectors in the hunt for diversion with plans to hire more.
“It’s like an audit,” Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC, said in a statement for The Register Guard. “They’re going to go out and make sure that plant counts and package count match what’s in the system.”
Though growers, who invest thousands and thousands of dollars to operate legally, feel much differently.
“If they’re really worried about diversion, it’s the unlicensed growers you have to worry about,” said Anthony Johnson, who directed the campaign to legalize adult-use cannabis in Oregon. “These people I know, they’ve put so much investment into their grow that risking that isn’t really part of the equation.”