Oregon’s marijuana regulators decided Friday to cancel the license of a grower whose operation was linked to a butane honey oil explosion that burned two people.
High Cascade Farms will have its recreational marijuana producer license canceled for 13 violations, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced Friday. Seven of the 13 violations relate to misrepresentation in the statewide database used to track marijuana plants and seeds.
One instance had serious consequences. Someone at the farm — using the account tied to employee Andrew Heller — reported two marijuana plants as destroyed because of pests. But those plant tags were recovered from the scene of a butane honey oil explosion on March 18 at a northeast Bend duplex, the OLCC reported. Heller said he left High Cascade Farms in January. The OLCC did not cite him personally for any violations.
As The Bulletin has reported previously, that explosion lifted the roof off the building, moved the foundation by four inches and seriously burned two people.
High Cascade Farms is owned by Charles Ringo and Leonard Peverieri, but they had a third, undisclosed partner, the OLCC reported. The agency cited the business for failing to disclose the ownership interest of David Carl Paulsen.
Ringo, who is listed as president and secretary of High Cascade’s holding company, Byzantium Corp., could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Other violations the OLCC cited include failing to verify that Heller held a valid marijuana worker permit before allowing him to participate in the business and concealing potential evidence. Heller says he had legal permission to work on the farm, via a letter from OLCC, while the agency was backlogged in processing marijuana worker permit applications. OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger confirmed that was the agency’s practice while clearing a backlog of worker permit applications.
Certain entries in the growing facility’s visitor log book were blacked out, the OLCC said.
In addition to the plants falsely reported as damaged by pests, the OLCC found a plant that had been reported as destroyed for powdery mildew alive and well at High Cascade’s drying room on April 19.
On that same visit, OLCC agents couldn’t find 268 packages of cannabis seeds that had been entered into the tracking system on multiple dates since November. They did find mature marijuana plants, plastic totes containing usable marijuana and bags of flower that weren’t entered into the tracking system. They also found a cultivation batch that had not been entered in the system.
The OLCC’s final order canceling High Cascade’s license is still being drafted, spokesman Mark Pettinger said.
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This story has been updated to clarify that Andrew Heller is a former employee of High Cascade Farms.