Capital Bureau

Investors from outside Oregon may be able to join in the state’s nascent recreational marijuana industry under new rules by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

In deference to legislative leadership plans to lift residency restrictions on marijuana operations, the rule allows the commission to keep license applications by non-residents under review until 30 days after the 2016 session.

“The co-chairs’ intent is to change that residency requirement, but they also understand we can’t ignore it,” said commission Chairman Rob Patridge. “They are worried about people losing their place in line for the application process. The compromise in this draft is if Legislature acts they won’t lose their place in line.”

The provision is one of a series of temporary rules the commission adopted Thursday that address license eligibility requirements, grow sizes, security requirements and other aspects of recreational marijuana.

The new rules take effect Jan. 1 and must be replaced with permanent rules by the end of June.

The Oregon Legislature earlier this year barred nonresidents from growing or selling recreational marijuana. Growers, processors, wholesalers and retailors are required to have Oregon residency for at least two years.

Critics of the restriction said the statute could hamper development of the industry and may be unconstitutional.

The co-chairs of a joint legislative committee on implementing legalized marijuana wrote in an Oct. 9 letter to the commission that they want to pass legislation in 2016 to lift that restriction.

“Our own thinking on these issues has evolved over time,” the letter stated. “We now believe that broad residency requirements and significant limits on outside investment could do more harm than good.”

The letter was signed by Sen. Ginny Burdick, Sen. Ted Ferrioli, Rep. Ann Lininger and Rep. Carl Wilson.

The temporary rules answered some but not all of the concerns of both industry and public safety. For instance, the rules allow retailers to deliver up to $1,000 of marijuana to primary residences.

Meanwhile, retailers are prohibited from selling both recreational and medical marijuana out of the same retail location because different agencies regulate each type.

Grow operations are limited to 10,000 square feet indoors and 40,000 square feet outdoors, but local governments may request a variance from the commission to allow a larger or smaller grow operation.

“Local government beyond that could come to commission with a plan,” Patridge said. “I think that would alleviate some of the grower gripes about having the opportunity to grow a larger production.”

The rules also trigger a mandatory 30-day license suspension for selling marijuana to minors and require stringent security measures such as video surveillance.

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