Regulation always brings change and was this ever apparent during my conversation with Mark Pettinger of the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission)! For those of you living outside of Oregon, the OLCC is the regulatory agency that provides licenses for dispensaries and grows. I was able to spend some time talking to Mark and I was curious to get his perspective on how the industry has changed in Oregon since Measure 91 passed. Our conversation ranged from grows to dispensaries ended with what we can expect in the coming years from the OLCC. So let’s begin!
Part 1 – To grow or not to grow
When Measure 91 passed, the State of Oregon divided up responsibility for the Marijuana industry amongst three different agencies. The OLCC would be responsible for licensing of grows and dispensaries, the Dept. of Agriculture would regulate pesticide application and the Oregon Health Authority would regulate all things related to medical marijuana. While these three agencies have different charters, they do work cohesively in an effort to insure quality product finds its way to your local dispensary.
One of the things I hear most often related to grows and Measure 91 is in regards to the black market that was created when government decided to get in the game. Marks view was different (not surprisingly) and brought up the change in the business landscape. The OLCC’s view is that the licensed grow operations have a vested interest in producing high quality product and are quick to point out grows not playing within the guidelines. There will always be the “old guard” that can grow weed and sell to their buddies, but the new comers are bringing a combination of skill, business acumen and money that hasn’t previously been seen. Essentially, the guys playing by the book have invested heavily into their operation/product and need to make sure that their buyer is not going rogue and buying off-market product.
Similar to ingredient traceability in the food industry, the OLCC has a seed to sale process that can literally track your bud from your home to the dispensary where you purchased it, to the grow it came from and even back to the seed producer. I know there will be those of you reading this that would argue that this level of traceability is an intrusion into your privacy or that this is government conspiracy to document everyone buying bud. But this is about being able to notify the public and perform a recall, if needed, in the event that non-safe product has found its way to the market.
If you’d like to get more information on starting a grow in Oregon please use the link below. The OLCC has great resources to get YOU in the game.