The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) will officially change its name to the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission after Aug. 2 to reflect its new regulatory responsibilities while retaining its previous acronym.
Oregon House Bill 3000 directs the OLCC to work in tandem with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and other state and local agencies to further regulate illegal cannabis growth and add restrictions upon the sale of cannabis extractions such as THC.
This includes preventing the sale of THC products to children, such as the currently-unregulated pshycoactive Delta-8 THC, which can be sold to minors in convenience stores.
"Delta-9 THC is the intoxicating THC that's found in marijuana, which our agency regulates," said an OLCC spokesperson, adding that Delta-8 THC is among the other chemical conversions of hemp plants that are currently unregulated.
"What this bill does, and what our rules address are getting those products out of the general market and getting them to a place where they can be sold within the regulated market, because of the fact that Delta-8 THC is an intoxicant," the spokesperson added.
On Monday, the OLCC approved temporary rules allowing it to test hemp fields across Oregon for illegal grows. The temporary rules establish limits upon the legal level of THC allowed in hemp products as well as new methods for testing hemp in fields.
Two Southern Oregon counties, Jackson and Josephine, will be a focal point of attention for the OLCC due to their recent increase in illegal cannabis growth.
"What's going on in southern Oregon with the cartel takeover of cannabis growing through the guise of hemp and our role in being able to enforce that is all incredibly important," said Steve Marks, OLCC executive director. "We and our partners are poised to begin eradicating this illegal activity, to bring stability to disrupted communities starting in Jackson and Josephine counties, and to ensure that our legal, licensed, tax-paying cannabis licensees aren't being undermined by illegal market activity."
"Where this agency has to go, we really have to help all of our licensees," he added. "The hospitality industry, alcohol and cannabis move on to post-Covid recovery. We've got a lot of challenges there for the industry over the next two years. To make sure Oregon's economy is strong and we do our part with that with the resources given to us."
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