Oregon regulator shows leniency, shortens backlog of marijuana violations

Oregon’s cannabis regulatory agency said it has significantly reduced the backlog of violation cases against marijuana licensees and appears to have shifted to a softer enforcement stance.

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) was facing a backlog of nearly 500 cases for alleged violations committed by licensed cannabis companies, according to a news release.

Though some of the alleged violations were from several years ago – before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – licensees had not been formally charged under the administrative process, essentially leaving them in limbo.

The agency said it reduced to 40 the number of cases that could be formally charged with violations.

The other cases were processed and companies were given informal and formal warnings.

Regulators gave warnings to licensees that took the corrective action needed to get back in compliance.

“We’re finding now with the evolution of the industry, there can be a little more tolerance of a violation,” said Rich Evans, the OLCC’s senior director of licensing and compliance.

“Some of the violations we were charging in 2019 … are actually handled in a different manner today.”

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To qualify for a warning, a cannabis company needed to have:

  • An otherwise exemplary record.
  • A history of cooperation with regulators.
  • Corrected and not repeated the original violation.