By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission expects to roll out rules this week for hemp growers and processors who want to sell their products in the state-regulated system for marijuana.

Previously, hemp, a plant like marijuana but without psychoactive properties, was subject to vague regulations about sourcing and processing in Oregon. Commonly associated with fiber products like rope or fabrics, hemp also yields cannabidiol, or CBD, which is believed to have some medicinal qualities.

The Legislature in 2017 passed guidelines in Senate Bill 1051 for some hemp products that are sold in the OLCC system for recreational marijuana.

“There was sort of a side door for hemp growers or processors to develop products and bring them into the OLCC as long as they’re tested and labeled,” said OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger. Prior to the passage of SB 1051, “it didn’t matter where (those products) came from,” he said.

The new state law requires hemp growers or processors to obtain an OLCC certificate to bring their products into the OLCC system. Also, OLCC-licensed marijuana processors will need a special endorsement to process hemp.

Oil high in cannabidiol is used as a massage oil, made into salves and cremes and added to gelatin candies and nonalcoholic beverages, among other products. Cannabidiol products, some made of hemp grown outside Oregon and the U.S., are widely available outside of marijuana dispensaries. SB 1051 allows the continued sale of those products, but only if they meet the same requirements for hemp grown in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture already licenses hemp growers, processors (called handlers) and seed providers. The state online database shows 53 industrial hemp growers in the state, including five in Deschutes County. Another 20 are licensed to process industrial hemp, two in Deschutes County.

In addition to publishing new rules, the commission expects this week to have forms available for hemp growers and handlers to apply for certification. Only hard copies of those forms will be available, Pettinger said Wednesday. He said the OLCC system is not yet equipped to process the applications online.

“It’s strictly paper,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,