Candies, cookies and beverages infused with a low dose of cannabinoids, the active ingredients in marijuana, will not be available for recreational consumers for another month or two, the manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program said Monday.
Low-dose edibles became legal for recreational buyers aged 21 and over at medical marijuana dispensaries when Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1511 last week. However, the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees the medical marijuana program, must first draw up temporary rules for those sales. A key provision is the definition of a low dose.
The agency is drafting rules now, said André Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, but they may not be ready until early summer.
“We don’t have a specific date in mind; we’re preparing to do it as quickly as we can,” Ourso said Monday. “That may be a month or two months.”
The law allows a recreational marijuana consumer to buy one serving of a low-dose edible — typically sold as candies, lozenges or cookies or in drinks like kombucha, coffee or tea — and one low-dose cartridge for a vaporizer pen. Those products are already available, in varying doses, to medical marijuana program cardholders.
SB 1511 permits the OHA to define what “low dose” means. Dispensary owners said they believe a low dose is 5 to 10 milligrams of cannabinoids. Products in that range are already available, they said.
“The same rules that will apply to low-dose edibles are likely to be similar to the edible market for medical marijuana cardholders,” said Jeremy Kwit, owner of Bloom Well, a dispensary on NE Division Street in Bend. “The difference will be the dosage.”
DiamondTree, which operates two dispensaries in Bend and is building one in Madras, has products in stock for medical users that may meet a low-dose definition.
“We’ll probably offer it in individual candies and beverages with 5 milligram and 3 milligram” doses, said Summer Latchford, company director at DiamondTree. “We have cold-brew coffee in 8 ounce containers,” for example, she said.
Edibles may not be made or packaged in a way that makes them attractive to children, and they cannot be made by infusing an existing product with cannabinoids. That means gummy bears, for example, are out, Latchford said.
At High Grade Organics, a dispensary on SE Davis Avenue, owner Nick Harsell said his products are basically invisible inside their packages. He sells, among other products, cannabinoid-infused chocolates, cold-brew coffee and ginger ale. Baked goods have not sold well, plus they have a shorter shelf life than other products, but Harsell said they may become popular with recreational buyers. Processors and retailers will have to retool somewhat for recreational consumers, he said.
“Processors will have to repackage or make new batches for the recreational market,” Harsell said. “I’m holding off taking in edibles until I see that definition” of what constitutes a low dose.
SB 1511 allows medical marijuana dispensaries that take part in early sales of marijuana to recreational customers to sell edible forms of the drug, too. The Oregon Legislature, to bridge the gap between legalization and the day when adults could purchase recreational marijuana, approved the sale beginning Oct. 1, 2015, of 7 grams of marijuana in plant form per person per day. That provision expires Dec. 31 and gives the public access to marijuana while the OLCC creates a regulatory structure and issues licenses to recreational marijuana businesses.
Meanwhile, the Legislature during its recent session also banned the manufacture of extracts by unlicensed processors. That interrupted the supply of extracts, which are used in edibles, until OHA started accepting license applications Friday. Oregon defines an extract as a substance made using a hydrocarbon solvent, such as butane, hexane or propane, and heat. Illicit makers of extract, sometimes called butane honey oil, pose a danger of fire or explosion.
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