Oregon Updates Marijuana Licencing Criteria To Include A Human Trafficking Rule

Today’s requirements for Oregon marijuana licence holders include a new reporting obligation for human trafficking.

This Thursday, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) approved the final rules governing the moratorium on marijuana licences that the legislature passed and that is valid until March 31, 2024. Additionally, the OLCC adopted regulations on Wednesday mandating marijuana licence holders and their staff members to report any suspicions of human or sex trafficking.

The decision was made at the OLCC’s monthly meeting in response to a notice it had filed on September 16, 2022, requiring employees at licenced marijuana establishments to notify law enforcement or the OLCC “if the employee or worker has a reasonable belief that sex trafficking or other human trafficking is occurring at the premises.” The new OLCC rule also mandates that workers or employees disclose if they have a solid suspicion that a minor is acting illegally while working on the property.

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A permittee, employee, or licensee representative making a report in accordance with this regulation in good faith is exempt from any criminal or civil penalties for doing so, according to an amnesty clause in the new OLCC rule.

The Commission heard from distillers, wineries, eastern Oregon brewers, and a Pendleton restaurant owner at its monthly meeting in Pendleton, which was attended by commissioners and OLCC personnel.

Oregon Updates Marijuana Licencing Criteria
Oregon Updates Marijuana Licencing Criteria

They told OLCC that they experience both special pandemic-related difficulties and difficulties that are akin to those faced by their peers elsewhere in Oregon. Eastern Oregon distillers complained to the Commission about supply chain challenges, notably with regard to packaging for bottling and transporting their products, and that the high cost of transportation makes it difficult for smaller distilleries to market themselves outside of the area.

Local brewers reported little change in their sales. They informed OLCC that their ability to operate their retail business during certain hours is constrained by the labour market.

Additionally, OLCC says that the state has more than 80 distilleries “Craft distilling continues to draw attention in Oregon. Additionally, distillers thanked the privately run liquor stores in Oregon for showcasing the state’s distilling business.”

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The Oregon Distillers Guild’s Brad Irwin said, “We get our products out with a very little problem, but I talk to other distillers in other states, and they try to get (their products) listed with the state, and they have a lot harder challenge.”

According to OLCC, winemakers in eastern Oregon noticed a rise in direct-to-consumer sales during the pandemic, which is continuing, and they credited “OLCC’s flexibility during the core of the pandemic that permitted tasting facilities to stay open.”

“We set up picnic tables in the vineyard so that tastings could take place in seclusion. It rapidly gained popularity, “from Phelps Creek Winery’s Bob Morus. And that helped many small wineries maintain their cash flow, which was crucial.

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