Suzanne Roig
The Bulletin

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will host public listening sessions around the state to hear from stakeholders in the cannabis and wine industries.

The first session will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday at Riverhouse on the Deschutes, 2850 NW Rippling Court. Stakeholders are asked to register on the OLCC Eventbrite page">

For the more than 1,136 recreational marijuana producers operating in Oregon, a new moratorium on applications won’t have any impact.

But 660 would-be growers could see their applications become inactive as they wait for an Oregon Liquor Control Commission investigator to be assigned or because they don’t have a land use compatibility statement, according to an OLCC report.

Producer applicants have until Monday to submit land use compatibility statements to show that the cannabis business conforms to city or county planning rules.

The moratorium will last until Jan. 2, 2022, or until 6 ½ years worth of legal, recreational cannabis can be consumed. The moratorium applies only to grower permits and went into effect with the signing of Senate Bill 218 by Gov. Kate Brown on June 17.

“Who knows what will happen in cannabis world,” said Mark Pettinger, OLCC spokesman. “We’ll have to see where the market is. Two years from now in this is a long ways away.

“Market conditions could be different. Political conditions would be different.”

In light of the regulatory changes, the OLCC will take to the road on a listening tour starting Tuesday with the first stop in Bend. A total of five stops will be made to hear from stakeholders in the marijuana industry, and the OLCC will hold four meetings with the wine industry. The full commission will meet July 18 in Ashland at Southern Oregon University.

Senate Bill 218 gives the OLCC the right to deny producer license applications depending on market demands. In addition, the new law prohibits applicants from changing the application location or ownership.

This restriction is because some applicants have found it profitable to sell their place in the queue, Pettinger said. Existing licensees can change ownership or location of grow sites, he said.

The moratorium also applies to any application that was submitted after June 15, 2018. A temporary moratorium was instituted last year because the OLCC couldn’t keep up with demand for licenses. With more than a dozen investigators, the application process could take up to three months for a license renewal to 14 months for a new application. Oregrown, a Bend-based company that grows, processes and sells cannabis, praised the efforts by lawmakers and the OLCC.

“SB 218 is a great step forward towards stabilization in the Oregon marketplace,” said Aviv Hadar, Oregrown CEO. “While it may delay the licensing of new cannabis producers, it will tremendously help those currently operating.”

As of June 28, there were 2,276 producer licenses pending before the OLCC and 1,136 active licensed producers in Oregon, according to an OLCC report.

Lawmakers passed two measures in an attempt to combat oversupply: the moratorium and a measure enabling the export of cannabis to other legal recreational states, should the federal government allow it.

Voters approved recreational marijuana use in 2014. The first licenses were issued in 2016, but by June 2018, an oversupply caused concern among policy makers that an over-saturation of cannabis would leak into the black market. Prices have dropped from $14 a gram in 2015 to $3 a gram statewide, according to a legislative analysis.

“We don’t have a supply problem; we have a consumption problem,” said Jeremy Kwit, owner of Substance retail outlets in Bend. “Generations of suppression and hysteria have taken a toll. Excessive regulations, antiquated tracking technology, and insanely high consumer and business taxes artificially inflate costs and prices for everyone.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2117,