Oregon Health Official: MMJ Plant Controls Too Lax

An Oregon health official has warned lawmakers that existing regulations on the state’s medical cannabis industry don’t do enough to prevent marijuana from entering the illegal market, though she didn’t offer solutions on how to stem the flow.

Priscilla Lewis, deputy director of the Oregon Public Health Division, said she sees the wisdom of having a seed-to-sale tracking system but didn’t ask lawmakers to institute one, according to the East Oregonian. Such a system involves labeling individual plants with a tiny, trackable chip.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission tracks recreational marijuana with a seed-to-sale system produced by Franwell, a supply chain tracking company in Florida that is also the contractor for Colorado’s marijuana tracking system.

Current medical marijuana tracking guidelines in Oregon mainly require growers to self-report how many plants they have.

Rob Patridge, chairman of the liquor commission, has estimated that up to 75% of cannabis grown under the medical program ends up on the black market.

Lawmakers complained that they haven’t been able to get data on how many medical marijuana plants there are in the state.

That will make it hard to implement new medical marijuana plant limits that are supposed to go into effect next March.

Under the plant-cap law passed earlier this year, medical grows will be limited to 12 plants in city residential zones and 48 plants in rural and non-residential zones. Some larger grows that will be grandfathered under the new law can have between 24 and 96 plants.