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Oregon Health Authority Admits to Mistakes In MMJ Program

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the agency tasked with regulating and overseeing the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), admitted in a report released Thursday that it has not provided adequate oversight of medical cannabis growers and other industry entities, the Associated Press reports.

According to the OHA’s internal review, the program is ripe with the overproduction of cannabis and the illegal diversion of those products to out-of-state illicit markets.

The report — which was ordered by OHA Director Patrick Allen after receiving complaints from both state and federal law enforcement — found there are more than 20,000 grow sites in the state. Due to a severe lack of inspectors, however, OMMP reportedly carried out just 58 grow site inspections in 2017. 

“Potentially erroneous reporting coupled with low reporting compliance makes it difficult to accurately track how much product is in the medical system. This limits OMMP’s ability to successfully identify and address potential diversion.” — The Oregon Health Authority’s internal review

Oregon was an early adopter of both medical and adult-use cannabis reforms. The state’s recreational marketplace, however, carries more stringent rules and is overseen by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

“We are taking steps to maintain the integrity of Oregon’s medical marijuana program and make sure medical products reach the patients who need them. The actions we’re taking include better tracking of growers, better enforcement, and making sure product that fails testing has been destroyed.” — Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, via the Associated Press

In January, U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams announced five priority areas for enforcing federal cannabis laws in the state; overproduction was one of Williams’ key concerns at that time.

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