Oregon pot regulators cite Oregrown, Lunchbox Alchemy for license violations

Oregrown co-owner Hunter Neubauer stands over what used to be a milking station for goats at the company's marijuana farm in Tumalo. (Bulletin/file photo)

One of Bend’s most prominent marijuana businesses faces a 46-day suspension for multiple license violations, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced Thursday, along with sanctions on several other cannabis businesses around the state, plus new regulations.

Oregrown, a marijuana grower, processor and dispensary operator, will pay a $4,950 fine and serve a 46-day suspension, which affects the wholesale processing business, co-founder Hunter Neubauer said.

“It affects our business drastically,” he said. “We’re not allowed to transfer product in or out of our license during the suspension,” which starts Aug. 19, he said.

The commission’s action against Oregrown stems from its use of hemp oil and false statements that Neubauer and co-founder Aviv Hadar made to inspectors about the hemp oil, according to the commission’s press release.

Neubauer himself will serve a 23-day suspension for false statements. Neubauer is on the board of directors of the Bend Chamber and has served on a rules advisory committee for the OLCC.

The inspection at Oregrown, which has a farm and processing plant near Tumalo, took place early this year, Neubauer said. “We didn’t have hemp oil at the facility, but we had hemp oil in our products,” he said. “At that time I was under the impression we were operating correctly.”

Oregrown now has a license endorsement that allows the business to work with hemp, Neubauer said.

The OLCC also dinged Bend edible-products maker Lunchbox Alchemy, which will pay a $1,485 fine for failing to enter product into the METRC cannabis tracking system within the required 10-day window. Founder Cameron Yee said the violation happened when Lunchbox Alchemy was making the switch from a medical-marijuana license to a recreational license, overseen by the liquor control commission. The METRC tracking system was new, and the business fell behind in entering all of its products, he said.

“It was one of the tribulations of moving into the system,” Yee said. “I don’t think there was anyone to blame. All of the product was accounted for.”

Yee added that Lunchbox Alchemy now has a compliance officer and several other employees who work with METRC.

Oregon’s pot regulators are most concerned about sales to minors and preventing leaks to the black market. On Thursday the commission approved a rule that will allow the agency to revoke the permit of any marijuana worker found to be deliberately selling to a minor.

“Today’s action holds individuals with Marijuana Worker Permits as responsible as our licensees because it puts in jeopardy their right to work in the legal cannabis industry,” commission Chairman Paul Rosenbaum stated in a press release.

The commission already raised the penalty on retailers that sell to minors. That improved the compliance rate in minor-decoy operations, “but the commission is increasingly seeing cases with repeated violations,” the commission stated in its press release.

OLCC agents visited more than 20 dispensaries in Bend and Madras in December, and there were no sales to minors.

To prevent leaks to the black market, the commission also approved a rule requiring marijuana growers to notify the agency by 9 a.m. any morning that they decide to harvest a crop.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

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