OPINION: OLCC Has Only Itself to Blame for the Rise of Illicit Marijuana Grows in Southern Oregon


  As noted in my previous posts this summer, law enforcement in Southern Oregon has been bitten by the Reefer Madness bug, and the heated rhetoric has been fueled in no small part by Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) officials. While it seems relatively clear that there has been a noticeable uptick in the amount of outright illegal marijuana grows in recent years, OLCC’s role in this trend should not go unnoticed. Indeed, a straight line can be drawn between OLCC’s recreational marijuana licensing “pause” it instituted in the summer of 2018, OLCC’s efforts to hype an “overproduction” problem that convinced the legislature to pass the producer application pause in SB 218 (2019), the federal government’s legalization of hemp, and the rise in illicit marijuana grows in Southern Oregon. OPEN FOR BUSINESS In November 2014, Oregon voters passed Measure 91 by a 12-point margin, thereby sending a strong signal to politicians that the vast majority of voters wanted to end cannabis prohibition in its entirety. Oregon legislators who worked on the bill to conform Measure 91 in statute have stated that one of the main goals behind Oregon’s recreational cannabis system was to “undermine the dominance of the black market for this product.” Ken Helm & Logan Leichtman, Implementation of Oregon’s Measure 91 in the State Legislature, 52 Willamette L. Rev. 1, 13 (2015). To that end, the legislature included a requirement that OLCC process recreational cannabis applications without “unreasonable delay,” and otherwise made the barriers to licensure lower than the system our neighbors to the north in Washington instituted. In other words, the Oregon voters and Legislature spoke to OLCC in a unified voice: Oregon is to be open for cannabis business to all qualified applicants. OLCC began issuing recreational cannabis producer licenses in 2016. OLCC ISSUES LICENSING PAUSE While the barriers to entering…

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Source : OPINION: OLCC Has Only Itself to Blame for the Rise of Illicit Marijuana Grows in Southern Oregon

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