The final rules and regulations for Oregon’s cannabis industry went into effect almost a month ago but we are still getting a lot of questions. These are the new permanent rules meant to replace the temporary rules which were set to expire on June 28th, 2016 and went into effect immediately the next day. Two of the biggest changes, now that the laws are finalized, will affect all employees in the industry as well as new business applicants and people hoping to get into the industry.
Originally it was only retail employees that were required to hold a worker permit. Under the permanent regulations almost all employees must have a worker permit to work in a cannabis affiliated business, not just a retail location. We’re not just talking about people who physically handle the products either. Verbiage in the regulations even includes employees that participate in the “recording” and/or “verification” of the documents that record the possession, securing or selling of marijuana. The employees need to pass an online test, submit to a complete background check and will be required to pay a $100 fee for the permit and will need to renew it every 5 years. You can find more on Oregon cannabis workers permits on the state website.
The new laws just made Oregon the most inviting and accessible state to enter into the marijuana business in for entrepreneurs and investors alike. The permanent law scratched the requirement for being a resident of Oregon for at least 2 years before you can apply for a cannabis business license now allowing for outside residents and entrepreneurs to open and invest in marijuana businesses. Even non citizens of the states can now open and be involved in a marijuana business in Oregon.
There are new licenses for what is considered a micro wholesaler, a small wholesaler that is only allowed to purchase from a micro-grower or “producer”. The micro-producer licenses are described as micro Tier I and Tier II, and enforce maximum canopy size limits of 625 sq. ft. and 1250 sq. ft. consecutively for an indoor production, and for an outdoor production they allow for up to 2500 sq. ft for a Tier I and 5000 sq. ft. for a Tier II micro-grow. These rules are enticing for people who are looking to slowly enter into the industry. Smaller scale grows, lower license fees and the ability to procure smaller properties to do it on will be beneficial to “craft” producers who focus more on quality than quantity.
Under the new laws recreational and medical programs are beginning to be merged together. Recreational marijuana producers are now able to get licensed with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to produce and sell cannabis for medical purposes as well. Additionally, they will be able to have the grow for both purposes in the same location. Existing medical producers will be allowed to apply for recreational licenses and “transfer” their current inventory over to the recreational side. Medical wholesalers are allowed to receive medical grade cannabis, such as cannabinoid products, concentrates and extract from processors and sell or transfer those products to other wholesalers, processors and retailers.
There is new verbiage also included for non-profit dispensaries as a new category for a retail license as well a license for research certificate holder. Now it seems that each license can sell or transfer to any other license. Except Micro-wholesalers, of course. Producers, processors and wholesalers can all sell to almost any other license holder, including another wholesaler, processor, producer, lab, research certificate holder, non-profit or retail location. However, retail licenses are still the only ones who can sell cannabis to a consumer.
There are a few very critical changes to Oregon’s Cannabis business laws now that rules are written in stone and it’s crucial that you understand them and remain compliant. You can, and should, read through the entire permanent requirements document here. Any old rules that no longer apply were scratched through and the new rules are written in bold type making it easier for you to see and understand the changes. However, navigation of all of these complex rules and regulations can be daunting, having someone on your side who specializes in understanding and implementing the proper compliance practices can ease some of the burden. Guardian Data Systems has been the industry’s trusted leader in business, financial, and consulting services for over 10 years and is always here to help you with any of your cannabis business needs including the industry’s only true ERP (comprehensive cannabis business management, compliance, and sales software).