SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Cannabis Commission is recommending the state set up an independent agency to regulate legal marijuana rather than having three different agencies share the job, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Marijuana is currently regulated by the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, but their responsibilities also include public health, alcohol and crop services.
The Statesman Journal obtained a draft report through a public records request that says having three agencies manage marijuana creates confusion, and each agency has a different mindset about cannabis.
Law enforcement officials and growers also find the multiagency approach “confusing and difficult to navigate,” the report said.
The lines regarding who’s responsible for what have changed over time.
Certain medical growers were required as of July 1 to use the OLCC’s Cannabis Tracking System, which recreational licensees also use. To help track medical marijuana, the OLCC in August revealed it planned to seek $7 million per biennium in recreational pot tax money from the 2019 Legislature.
Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the OLCC, told the newspaper he had heard mention of the new agency recommendation, but said it was “not our issue to comment on.”
The cannabis commission was formed by the 2017 Legislature.
Jonathan Modie, spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority, stressed the recommendation is still a draft. The cannabis commission meets Nov. 27 via conference call to discuss recommendations included in the draft report.
If the commission approves the recommendation, Modie said, the report will presented to a legislative committee when the session begins.
Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University, said proposals like this usually come about after an audit reveals problems, but this one appears to be spontaneous.
“I think it will have good political support,” he said.