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Oct-01-2016 20:57printcomments

OLCC Rules Out Many Cannabis Strain Names with Attractiveness to Children Standard

Rules for narrowing the acceptable strain names and testing and labeling marijuana items keep business owners jumping.

Dr Who cannabis strain
Image: leafly.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - Few, if any, businesses have had to jump through the amount of hoops thrown at those engaged in Oregon's cannabis industry.

About a week ago, the OLCC passed a temporary rule that "clarifies" the restrictions on wording commonly associated with products marketed by or to children. Good idea, protect the children.

We're not talking about alcohol sales though. The OLCC restrictions on marketing are specifically directed to cannabis retailers.

On a side note, let us remember that in traffic accidents alone, alcohol killed 209 children in 2014. In fact, alcohol is responsible for the deaths of 4,700 people a year- under 21 years old.

Marijuana killed none. But let's get back to protecting the children.

The Commission already has the right to regulate marijuana strain names, that they deem "attractive to minors" which is a surprise to most of us. Yes, the name of the weed, which is of course set by the farmer, often based on it's genus.

It turns out that wasn't enough control, since they could not regulate strain names that reflect products marketed by minors such as “girl scout cookies”.

The reaction by the staff at OLCC to the alleged problem was to simply add more restrictions. Now, the temporary rule has the added verbiage "any reference to cartoon characters, or names associated with toys and games marketed to or by children". That's quite an umbrella of coverage.

Commission staff and Commissioners make the final determination of products that appeal to children and that are marketed by or to them. A very subjective determination, at best.

After reviewing about 500 strains, the Commissioners and OLCC staff say the rule would apply to less than 20 strains (so far). The OLCC will deny these names on pre‐approved packages and labels. Licensees are expected to voluntarily rename the strains.

Many of these are very well-known strains. They are not marketed or even seen on shelves by any one under 21, unless they are a legal medical patient. In order for a child to know the strain, they would have to read the small words on the medicine bottle.

Too bad they don't have the same marketing consideration for children and families where alcohol is involved.

According to Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, States have had little guidance regarding what works in the area of alcohol advertising regulation and have not had the resources to coordinate efforts across states.

Apparently, while cannabis money is flowing in, State resources devoted to alcohol industry regulation are minimal and shrinking. No wonder the alcohol industry is so worried about cannabis.

Transfer-Testing-Packaging-Labeling

More changes. Additionally, the OHA/OMMP has more temporary rules. These are meant to clarify the requirements for the transfer, testing, packaging and labeling of those items on or after October 1, 2016.

It is confusing, if you don't pay close attention. The voters that passed Measure 91 would never have dreamed that their "legalization" efforts would bring on such a throng of oppressive, administrative mandates. Those in the cannabis industry look for daily updates, so as not to miss a vital change or deadline.

Administrative rules in chapter 333, divisions 7 and 8 pertaining to testing, packaging and labeling of marijuana items and related to the operation of registered dispensaries and processors have been amended and temporarily adopted.

As of October 1, 2016 registrants must comply with permanent rules related to the transfer of marijuana items and the packaging, labeling and testing of marijuana items.

  • Marijuana items already transferred into dispensaries prior to October 1, 2016 may not be in compliance with the permanent rules.
  • For a registrant to transfer a marijuana item on or after October 1, 2016, the marijuana item must have a label and package that complies with the new rules, but is not required to have gone through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s pre-approval process.
  • A marijuana item that was transferred to a registered dispensary prior to October 1, 2016 is not required to have a label with a harvest date, harvest lot number, date the product was made, or the process lot number if that information is not known to the registrant.
  • The Commission has the discretion to reduce pesticide testing for batches from a harvest lot if there is insufficient laboratory capacity to handle all the testing. This reduced testing would only be permitted until March 1, 2017.
This rulemaking is effective September 30, 2016 – March 1, 2017.

For more information, go to: http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram/Pages/legal.aspx

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