To be honest, I’ve been pretty pleased at how things seemed to be going as far as setting up the recreational marijuana industry in Oregon. I absolutely loved the fact that they are allowing adults 21 and over to purchase through medical dispensaries until retail shops are licensed – their “early access program” of sorts is a good way to ease into things, I think.
There have been a lot of changes – particular laws being passed here and there over the last couple months, which have started to give a sturdy structure to the state’s new marijuana industry. However, the most recently passed law says that only licensed facilities can produce marijuana concentrates (defined as being made with heat).
A warning was sent out to medical marijuana dispensary owners telling them that selling concentrates that were produced by an unlicensed facility could be a considered a felony. The law is actually to reduce the number of people attempting to make and distribute concentrates on the black market – but since there are currently no licensed producers, all things having to do with concentrates are coming to a standstill.
Shops have permission to sell out the last of their inventory, but they are discouraged from purchasing any more until after licenses have been awarded. The main reason this is a problem is because the licensing process has not even begun yet in Oregon for the medicinal end of things ran by Oregon Health Authority (OHA), or the recreational end – which will eventually be controlled by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
The application will be available online as soon as April 1st – but that doesn’t mean that licenses are likely to be awarded any time soon. From the sound of it, there will be months between accepting the first applications and actually awarding the first licenses.
Applying, he said (André Ourso, manager of the state’s medical marijuana program), is just the beginning of a “long process” for getting registered. In all, he said the process could take “a few months.”
“The application has to be reviewed,” he said, adding that companies will need to ensure they meet local rules and fire safety requirements. “They still have to get their product tested for pesticides through an accredited laboratory.”
This means that it will be months before concentrates, like wax, will be available to medicinal patients – recreational users are legally allowed to possess it and another law will allow them access to it as well once the licensing goes through. But for patients who use BHO or CO2 oils in their vapor pen – those who need the high concentration of THC for medicinal reasons – will no longer have access until the companies are licensed.
One company owner, Cameron Yee of Lunchbox Alchemy, has stated that he may turn to concentrates that are less popular, but made with water or vegetable oil and without the use of heat or pressure.
“I have to do whatever I need to do to keep my doors open,” said Yee, who employs about 20 people. “It’s really burdensome. It’s causing a lot of hardship on me, lots of sleepless nights.”
Hopefully this will be enough to help keep their business afloat and keep at least a few handfuls of patients with access to much needed medicine until the paperwork can be finalized.