THOSE SEEKING to participate in Oregon's recreational (AKA adult-use) cannabis industry are feverishly preparing license applications for January 4, 2016. Meanwhile, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) on October 22 released rules for those who wish to grow, process, and sell adult-use cannabis in 2016: 78 pages of government-crafted regulations, covering a wide range of details, and—surprise—very few people are happy. (Note: Barring a late start by Phish, I've never seen so many weed smokers so grumpy. Can't any of the world-class growers in this state create an "OLCC Kush" to deal with the effects of working with this agency?)
Some are unhappy with the "delivery service" rule, which will limit the amount a home-delivery service can provide to $100's worth of flower. And that doesn't just mean they can't sell more than $100 at a time to any buyer—it means they can't have more than $100 of cannabis on them at any time. It puts us on a collision course with our CO2 reduction goals if drivers have to keep zipping back and forth to re-up.
Others aren't wild about the fees imposed (up to $5,750 for growers), or the myriad other rules that are going to make entering this new industry cost prohibitive for many—not to mention a paperwork nightmare. These complaints have merit, and I too would be upset and stressed if I were about to wade into these waters. (If you have insomnia, treat it by reading all the rules on oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana.)
That said, it's not that bad, at least when you compare it to how other states are proposing adult-use programs. I don't mean Colorado and Washington, although they have issues. No, I'm speaking of the Seth Rogen-like "round at both ends and high in the middle" Ohio.
The Buckeye State voted down a pretty terrible measure on Tuesday, November 3. The campaign backers, ResponsibleOhio, were funded by a group of 10 investment groups. Under their proposal, the only people allowed to produce cannabis would be the staff of these 10 multimillionaires. And unless you are talking about tiny racecars and hotels on Baltic Avenue, monopoly is not good for anyone. Check out Vince's column this week, which further breaks down what a mess this measure would have been.
Meanwhile, an all-points bulletin has gone out for the missing gonads of the Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, and NORML. Those first two were "neutral" on the measure while the latter endorsed it. Next time these groups hit you up for donations or membership dues, ask them where they were when it was time to have their voices heard.
In the Oregon cannabis industry, our fees are too high, as are our taxes. Some of our rules are head scratchers. Not everyone is going to pass the hurdles in place to join the industry. But we're better off than Ohio—in more ways than one.