For the most part, the switch from only medicinal to full legalization of cannabis seemed to be going extremely smoothly in Oregon– but that all changed last week when the Oregon Health Administration passed a regulation that would no longer allow the sale of marijuana extracts unless they were made by a licensed processor.
The problem with this being the fact that there are currently no licensed processors as applications haven’t even begun being accepted. In the medical marijuana community, shop owners, extract makers, and patients alike realized that this could turn into a problem for many very quickly.
Knowing that there could be months between the first accepted applications on April 1st and when the first license is awarded, lawmakers stepped in hoping to find a middle ground; a way that they could allow companies who were in compliance with all regulations to continue producing extracts.
The shortage that would have occurred would have left hundreds, if not thousands, of patients without access to high THC extracts that are needed to manage their conditions. For some, this meant no oil for a vape pen, which is a new and safer way to consume cannabis rather than smoking.
Representative Ann Lininger and Senator Ginny Burdick wrote a letter to the Oregon Health Administration urging them to find a way to allow extracts to continue to be made. The importance of keeping successful and dedicated businesses’ doors open and keeping patients with access to much needed medicine meant that there simply must be something that could be done.
In many cases we’ve seen lawmakers, and those in charge of determining regulations in such a new industry, are reluctant to go back on anything – that was not the case here. Surprisingly, the OHA acted rather quickly in response to the letter, deciding to allow businesses who submitted a full application as of April 1st would be allowed to resume production on a temporary basis until licensing takes place.
A medical marijuana processing site that has submitted a complete application for registration with OHA is exempted from criminal liability pursuant to ORS 475B.475. The registration process with OHA opens on April 1, 2016.
While it is a setback of a couple weeks for these companies, it is definitely not as bad as it could have been. Luckily, the OHA seems to truly have the interests of both patients and business owners in this matter and acted quickly to find a solution to the problem – even if they did wait for it to be addressed by concerned state lawmakers.