Oregon Cannabis Enforcement Actions and “the Importance of Compliance”
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (“OLCC”), Oregon’s cannabis regulator, recently handed down a series of enforcement actions against Oregon cannabis licensees citing multiple violations on a range of topics. In a news release about these enforcement actions, the OLCC Chair stressed that licensees must understand “the importance of compliance.”
The first stipulated settlement addressed in the release involved two operators, Maritime Cafe, a retailer, and Cosmic Treehouse, a wholesaler, with shared ownership. The OLCC discovered that Maritime Cafe had been making, and Cosmic Treehouse had been accepting, returns of products that had not originally been provided by that wholesaler, in violation of Oregon rules. Additionally, a Cosmic Treehouse employee was observed using a cannabis product on the licensed premises when Commission personnel conducted an inspection. The Commission proposed license termination for both entities as the appropriate sanction, but the licensee was able to negotiate a less severe punishment through a settlement agreement. Nonetheless, they face stiff fines the nonpayment of which would result in license suspension.
The OLCC cited another licensee, Green Acre Blend, for multiple failures related to the state’s cannabis track-and-trace system, Metrc. The Commission found multiple instances of Green Acre Blend failing to timely affix the proper UID tags to plants, unreconciled inventories, and numerous discrepancies between reported and actual plants on the licensed premises. Likewise, the Commission found that the licensee routinely harvested plants without filing the proper paperwork, and failed to modify or amend previously filed paperwork to reflect subsequent harvests. The licensee’s inability to account for the multiple discrepancies discovered by inspectors, despite multiple apparent opportunities to do so, proved fatal: Green Acre Blend will forfeit its license to the Commission and transfer its operations to a new owner.
These Oregon enforcement actions touch on various regulations and serve as a reminder to current operators that all rules merit attention. Failure to pay heed to compliance, may attract scrutiny. The severity of these sanctions,underscores how much is at stake for individual businesses and the industry as a whole.