The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has found a sharp reduction in cannabis sales to minors by dispensaries in the state since implementing increased penalties for violations. In January, regulators found that 40 percent of dispensaries in Portland sold to a minor during a sting by the OLCC, which led the agency to increase the penalties for underage sales.
Under the new rules, fines were increased from $1,650 to $4,950 and worker permit suspensions were increased from 10 days to 30 days. The rule is not permanent but could be finalized by the department following a six-month review of compliance activity.
During February compliance checks, none of the Portland shops tested by regulators sold to a minor. In the Salem region, cannabis sales to minors went from 22 percent to zero; while in Eugene checks went from 16 percent to 12 percent.
Sales to minors was one of the issues targeted by District U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams in a January Oregonian op-ed, which he indicated he had “significant concerns” about the state’s cannabis regulations.
The OLCC offers free ID checking classes for employees in age-restricted businesses in Portland on the third Wednesday of each month.