Oregon delays some hemp licenses to finalize rules for sales in marijuana system

Oregon has put some hemp licenses on hold while regulators finalize rules for including the crop in the state’s marijuana system.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced Friday that it will suspend issuing “hemp certificates” to growers and handlers who want to join the marijuana supply chain, pending the creation of new regulations.

A new Oregon law that took effect Friday changes how hemp items enter that state’s established marijuana system.

The delay doesn’t affect all Oregon hemp growers, just those who want their hemp processed alongside marijuana and sold in dispensaries.

“We’re just trying to make sure the process for bringing hemp in (to the marijuana system) is more straightforward,” OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger said.

Oregon has been overhauling its hemp regulations to set up a two-tier system for hemp: one regulated by the state Department of Agriculture and one regulated by the OLCC for hemp products being sold alongside marijuana, with the same testing and tracking requirements as marijuana.

Hemp growers who want their extracts and other products sold in dispensaries will need licenses from the OLCC, and recreational marijuana processors will need a “hemp endorsement” to accept industrial hemp and introduce it into the recreational marijuana supply line.

At least 27 OLCC processors already have the “hemp endorsement” on their license, and those processors won’t be affected by the delay.

Pettinger had no estimate how long it would take to write the hemp OLCC rules, noting that the agency is also in the process of overhauling its medical marijuana rules.

“We’ll need to work with those hemp growers to make sure they understand the obligations” of Oregon’s marijuana regulations, Pettinger said.