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DAN COLE

Oregon’s recreational cannabis inspections and tracking systems are more consistent and secure than they were this time last year, according to a report released Wednesday by Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno’s office.

The report was a follow-up to an audit released in February of 2018, which found gaping holes in the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC) cannabis tracking systems. That audit also concluded that the OLCC needed more trained on-site inspectors for retailers and growers, and that the agency’s self-reporting system for cannabis businesses could result in glaring inaccuracies in state data.

According to the follow-up report, the OLCC has taken “substantial steps” to fix those problems. Of 17 different issues found by the Secretary of State’s office, 10 had been solved, five had been at least partially fixed, and two had not yet been addressed.

Among the improvements made: The OLCC now has more consistent standards for on-site inspections, and has requested additional funding so it can add more inspectors to its ranks. The report notes that between April of 2018 and April of 2019, the OLCC had inspected 406 recreational pot growers and 72 retailers. (For context, the OLCC has issued over 2,000 cannabis business licenses since recreational pot became legal in 2015.)

The OLCC has also refined the process for businesses self-reporting their inventory and sales through the state’s Cannabis Tracking System, and has begun monitoring businesses suspected of foul play. However, the report notes this monitoring is “performed on an ad hoc basis” that is “not fully documented or standardized.”

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Meanwhile, the OLCC has made changes to bring its technology and computer security systems up to date, and limit the number of people who have access to its data. Several additional security upgrades are currently in the works.

There are two security recommendations from the February 2018 audit that the OLCC has yet to follow up on, but the agency plans to do so in the future.

It’s important to note that the February 2018 audit focused solely on the OLCC’s tracking and inspection protocol for the recreational cannabis industry. A wider-reaching audit released earlier this year found additional problems with the state’s overwhelming surplus of cannabis, the OLCC’s licensing processes, and the Oregon Health Authority’s oversight of medical cannabis growth and sales. A follow-up to that audit has yet to be released.