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Yearlong Wait for Newcomers’ Marijuana Regulatory Approval

Cannabis Law

Those wanting to enter the marijuana industry in Oregon will have a long wait moving forward. Regulators continue to be inundated with applications and the hold placed on processing new applications could have some waiting as long as 14-months. The OLCC says it’s 3-months behind on renewing licenses.

Those that submitted applications prior to June 15 are those affected by the wait period, The Bulletin reports. The commission notes that 747 applications are still waiting to be assigned to an OLCC investigator. Some 651 applications have already been assigned. The state shows 2,030 active marijuana industry licenses for retail sales, processors and producers.

Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC, said, “There are a number of folks that have renewals but are operating under temporary letter of authority. So they can continue to operate as they have until we can get around to renewing. Our focus is on the renewals.”

Given that ownership changes are frequent in the Oregon marijuana industry, this does slow the process of renewal and/or approval down a bit.

The state has 14 investigators on staff and each is responsible for between 60 and 80 applications.

Renewals will take precedence. Retail applications are next on the list. The state is working on applications based upon importance it seems. Producer applications are lower on the list because they require more work due to investigators having to visit the sites multiple times.

Adam Smith of Craft Cannabis Alliance said, “The agency is overwhelmed by the backlog that they have, so they are focusing their limited resources so as not to make the problem worse. But the decisions that have led us here have already been made, and none of this tinkering will have a dramatic impact. There is demand all over the country for Oregon cannabis.”

Lindsay Pate of Celebrate Cannabis said, “From a business perspective it’s easy to see that the pause will affect businesses. It’s a well-­intentioned fix to a much bigger problem, and that’s oversupply.”