Oregon trying to shrink state’s marijuana black market

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In an attempt to help curb the large amount of black market cannabis that’s been coming out of Oregon, the state is adopting some new measures. Regulators are concerned that if the problem gets too out of control it could prompt federal intervention.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is now requiring cultivators to give advance notice of their harvests so officials can come to inspect their fields to try and catch plants being diverted into the black market. The commission also wants to check the drying stages to make sure no plants are missing.

Because growing cannabis relies on watching crops very closely to know when the right time to harvest is, growers say the new regulation doesn’t align correctly with marijuana cultivation practices. They say that appropriate harvest time isn’t something that you can always plan for; it’s a day-to-day determination process.

The commission also passed a new rule that allows them to seize marijuana worker permit of anyone caught selling to a minor.

“Today’s action holds individuals with worker permits as responsible as our licensees because it puts in jeopardy their right to work in the legal cannabis industry,” said OLCC Commission Chair Paul Rosenbaum. “However, it’s a privilege, not a right, to hold a license. We want to be in a position to take a stronger action against those who don’t take the privilege of their license seriously, and will be addressing strengthening our sanctions in an upcoming session.”

With around 1,900 licensed cannabis companies in Oregon, the amount of production occurring in the state is rapidly turning marijuana into a commodity. Regulators want to address the issue of black market cannabis to avoid federal entanglements and ultimately help the industry grow and prosper.

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