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Oregon Officials Consider Delaying Implementation of New Cannabis Industry Rules

Many cannabis businesses are not yet ready to comply with Oregon’s new testing, packaging, and labeling rules and are asking officials to extend the implementation of the new regime for at least 30 days, The Oregonian reports. The new rules are set to take effect on Oct. 1.

During a meeting with legislators on the joint committee that oversees the rules, Amy Margolis, a lawyer representing the Oregon Cannabis Association, said the extension is “crucial for the survival of many, many businesses.”

The committee members seem open to an extension. Sen. Floyd Prozanski said he supports a 90-day extension, and moving the deadline to the end of the year offers a “clear break point” for the industry. He said the state had failed to get enough labs online to test products before they would be put on dispensary shelves.

“We have actually in good faith tried to get everything together and we know it didn’t come together,” he said in the report.

Cameron Yee, owner of Lunchbox Alchemy, a Bend-based edible and extract maker, said he was forced to throw out $8,000 worth of packaging that didn’t meet the state requirements; and was forced to halt production and lay off 10 people due to delays in the approval process.

“It’s a disaster,” he said in the report. “We are trying. We are not going to make it by Oct. 1. We are not going to have product on the shelf.”

However, some lab owners — who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in their laboratories — are fighting the extension. Anthony Smith, Evio Labs chief science officer, called the potential delay a move right out of the Big Tobacco playbook.

“…Like hey, you need to move the rules so we can continue our unregulated commerce of a potentially dangerous product,” he said.

Smith argues that if the rules are delayed it would allow producers to continue bringing their products to labs that are not yet up to the new state standards — “exactly the opposite of what Oregon wants from all this.”

“We can’t compete with them,” he said. “This will take the good labs and wipe them off the earth and the nefarious, unqualified labs will completely control the market.”

Longtime industry activist and dispensary owner Don Morse said more delays will “embolden the industry to procrastinate.”

“The time has come where it is incumbent on us to step up and do what needs to be done, to launch the recreational system in a meaningful way,” he said.

According to a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority, “no decisions have been made” regarding an extension.

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