Oregon’s Marijuana Laws Need Overhaul, Audit Finds

An audit by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) has identified deficiencies in the state of Oregon’s marijuana laws, which were written with the goal of preventing federal intervention.

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) has released an audit that calls for a complete overhaul of the state’s outdated marijuana laws. These laws were written at a time when the focus was on preventing federal law enforcement intervention rather than preparing for a national legal marketplace. The report notes that one of the main missions of this overhaul should be to prepare Oregon’s marijuana industry for supplying other states in an eventual national legal marketplace.

Oregon was one of the first states to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis sales, and its industry is valued at over $1 billion annually. The report highlights that the industry generated $311 million in tax revenue between 2019 and 2021. Despite this success, the Oregon marijuana sector is still plagued by regulations that are “based on repealed federal guidance” and does not receive the same level of support that other industries in the state do.

The OLCC audit revealed several other deficiencies in the Oregon cannabis industry. For instance, the commission does not collect demographic data to gauge the effectiveness of social equity programs. Furthermore, while Oregon is “preparing for the future expansion” of the industry to other states, the OLCC should reform security and track-and-trace requirements to ease the burden on businesses.

Exporting marijuana to other states has been on the forefront of Oregon’s mind. The state passed a law in 2019 that allowed officials to enter into agreements to export marijuana to other states. However, licensed operators are prohibited from shipping marijuana across state lines, and Jefferson Packing House, a distribution company, filed a lawsuit last year against Governor Kate Brown and other government officials seeking to overturn this prohibition.

According to the Associated Press, state auditors have advised Oregon cannabis regulators to prepare for national legalization when the state’s vast oversupply of cannabis could be brought to markets in East Coast markets. The report highlights the importance of preparing the industry for the eventual nationwide legalization of cannabis, which is expected to happen in the near future.

To achieve this goal, the OLCC must overhaul the state’s antiquated marijuana laws and ensure that the industry is prepared to supply other states in a national legal marketplace. Additionally, the commission must take steps to track and analyze demographic data in order to gauge the effectiveness of social equity programs. Finally, Oregon cannabis regulators must reform security and track-and-trace requirements to ease the burden on businesses and prepare for national legalization.