Earlier this month we found out that retail dispensaries should be opening in Oregon by October 1st – unfortunately, there have been a few unforeseen snags along the way. For one, labs were only just certified in the last few weeks after the Oregon Health Authority finally got some much needed help from the Department of Environmental Quality in order to process inspections and allow these labs to open up. This has led to a big problem for new and existing dispensaries – none of their products are tested by these new accredited labs and there is no way they can get all their new products tested before the October 1st deadline for new packaging and testing laws to go in effect.
This week an attorney for the Oregon Cannabis Association has asked lawmakers for a 30 day extension, which would allow them an extra month to ensure all of their products are in compliance with the new packaging and testing laws. Amy Margolis told them that “this extension is crucial to the survival of many, many businesses” – and that’s not entirely an understatement as one company, Lunchbox Alchemy, threw out $8,000 dollars worth of packaging and laid off 10 employees knowing how much money they would be losing to comply with the laws by the deadline.
Surprisingly, some lawmakers are extremely receptive to the idea of allowing an extension – actually, Senator Floyd Prozanski proposed the idea of a 90 day extension – which would allow the cannabis industry until the end of the year to ensure all their products are properly tested and packaged by the time the law goes into effect; it seems relatively logical, especially since the beginning of the year is when recreational marijuana will be turned over to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as well.
“We have actually in good faith tried to get everything together and we know it didn’t come together,” he said, referring to getting enough labs online to process marijuana so it can move into stores. Moving the deadline to the end of the year offers the industry a “clear break point,” he said.
On the other hand, labs are not happy with the fact that this would allow cannabis businesses to continue getting their products tested at non-accredited labs until the end of the year (or at least close to it) and are arguing that an extension of the law would create procrastination in the industry and that it would be a risk to health and safety. However, it appears that most businesses want to be able to comply with the regulations, but are all too aware of how it impossible it would be – and that implementing the law on time would create a lot of bare shelves in new and existing dispensaries.
Hopefully there can be a middle ground agreement – perhaps allowing a 90 day extension is a good idea and maybe it is too long of an extension – but before any decision is made it does appear they will take in the concerns of all parties. The 30 day extension they originally asked for does seem like it would be a logical compromise for all parties involved – but we won’t know until lawmakers announce their decision on the matter. With October only days away, they need to make a decision soon.