Coming up on October 1st, 2016 there will be many upcoming rule changes when the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) compliance deadline for transferring, labeling, concentration limits, packaging and testing of marijuana, and marijuana products comes into play. The October 1st compliance date will apply to all Oregon registered dispensaries, processors, and growers, patients or caregivers, who transfer marijuana and marijuana products designated for ultimate sale to a consumer. So what should we all expect and what changes will we encounter? Let’s take a look:
Transferring Cannabinoid Products, Concentrates and Extracts
Starting October 1st, 2016, dispensaries are only allowed to accept transfers of cannabinoid products, concentrates and extracts from a registered processing site. OAR 333-008-1230(2) So, what exactly does this mean?
For Oregon registered processors this means that as a registered processing site, that processor has submitted a complete application and received approval to operate from the OMMP. If a processor has not received approval to operate, they are not allowed to transfer products, concentrates and extracts on and after October 1st, 2016. A list of approved processors will be kept on the OMMP processor web page. http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram /Pages/processors.aspx
As for Oregon registered dispensaries; they are allowed to continue to sell already stocked cannabinoid products, concentrates and extracts that were transferred from unregistered processors to the dispensary prior to October 1, 2016 rules changes, but the products, concentrates and extracts must meet labeling, concentration limits, packaging and testing rules found in division 7 of the rules.
Starting October 1st, 2016, all marijuana items must be sampled and tested according to OAR 333-007-0300 to 333-007-0490 and OAR 333-064-0100 to 333-064-0110.
In layman’s terms these testing rule changes mean for Oregon registered dispensaries, processors and growers: On and after October 1st, 2016, any laboratory that tests marijuana items must be accredited by ORELAP and licensed by OLCC. In addition only accredited and licensed laboratories are permitted to sample and test marijuana items. A list of accredited and licensed laboratories will be made available on the OMMP laboratories web page. http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram /Pages/laboratories.aspx
For Oregon registered dispensaries specifically; a dispensary may continue to sell marijuana items that were not sampled and tested by an accredited and licensed laboratory if:
-The marijuana items are transferred to the dispensary before October 1, 2016
-The marijuana items fully comply with the concentration limits, labeling and packaging rules found in division 7 of the rules
-The marijuana items are labeled with a label that reads “DOES NOT MEET NEW TESTING REQUIREMENTS” in 12 point font, and in bold, capital letters. A dispensary will only be allowed to transfer these products to patients, caregivers and consumers until January 1, 2017.
Starting on October 1st, 2016, all cannabinoid products, cannabinoid concentrates or extracts are required to meet the concentration limits that are outlined in OAR 333-007-0200 and 333-007-0220. Low-dose cannabinoid edibles sold from medical dispensaries to retail customers during the early start period must continue to meet the definition found in OAR 333-008-1500(1)(k).
In other words:
For Oregon registered processors; from now until October 1, 2016 should be a transitional period for medical processors to bring their products into compliance with the medical concentration and serving size limits found in Table 2 of OAR 333-007-0220. Products being made to be sold to adult consumers as a part of early retail sales must come from an OHA approved processor and meet the limits outlined in OAR 333- 008-1500.
When it comes to Oregon registered dispensaries; medical marijuana items sold from a dispensary to patients and caregivers, such as edibles, topicals, tinctures, capsules, suppositories, transdermal patches, concentrates, extracts and other cannabinoid products are required to meet the concentration and serving size limits outlined in Table 2 of OAR 333-007-0220 beginning October 1st, 2016. Any Oregon registered dispensaries that are participating in early retail sales are only allowed to sell limited marijuana retail products as outlined in OAR 333-008-1500 to adults 21 years of age or older.
The only types of edibles that can be sold during early retail start are low-dose edibles that contain no more than 15 milligrams of THC in a unit. Dispensaries that currently have in-stock marijuana items that do not meet the concentration and serving size limits must sell those products prior to October 1st. Any products remaining in stock on or after October 1st, that do not meet the concentration and serving size limits must be returned to the processor or disposed of properly. The dispensary must document any returns or disposal of products.
Starting October 1st, 2016, all cannabinoid products, concentrates and extracts have to be fully compliant with labeling rules found in OAR 333-007-0010 to 333-007-0100, see also 333-008- 1200(8) and 333-008-1740(10).
As far as labeling requirements does this mean? For dispensaries, processors and growers: On and after October 1st, 2016, all marijuana items that are intended for sale to a consumer, patient or designated primary caregiver must meet the labeling requirements found in division 7. Compliance with the division 7 labeling rules means going through the OLCC labeling pre-approval process. The label pre-approval process must be completed for all marijuana items. A guide is available on the OLCC website that explains the labeling rules in more detail: http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Pages/PackagingLabelingPreApproval.aspx
Specifically for dispensaries; any marijuana items in a dispensary that do not meet the new division 7 labeling requirements on October 1st must be returned to those who transferred them or the dispensary must dispose of the products. The dispensary must document any returns or disposal of products.
Starting October 1, 2016, all marijuana items, except immature plants and seeds, must be packaged per OLCC packaging rules found in OAR 845-025-7000 to 845-025-7060. Also see OAR 333-008-1200(8) and 333-008-1740(10).
So how does this work? A dispensary or processor who packages marijuana items to ultimately be sold to a consumer, patient, or caregiver must transfer all marijuana items in OLCC approved child-resistant packaging starting October 1, 2016. This includes flower and any other marijuana products but does not include immature plants and seeds. A dispensary may use child-resistant exit packaging to comply with the rules. Ultimately this is a business decision between the processor and the dispensary in regards to who should provide the child-resistant packaging. A guide is available on the OLCC website that explains the packaging rules in more detail and reviews the pre-approval process. The OLCC opened the packaging pre-approval process on August 2, 2016. Please visit the OLCC website for more information: http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Pages/PackagingLabelingPreApproval.aspx
Early Retail Sales
An Oregon registered dispensary can only participate in early retail sales until December 31, 2016. OAR 333-008- 1500(5)(6).
Essentially that means that starting January 1, 2017, an OHA registered medical marijuana dispensary can only sell marijuana items to OMMP patients and caregivers. Sales made to anyone other than registered patients and caregivers will result in enforcement action against the dispensary. After December 31, 2017, if a dispensary wants to continue selling marijuana items to adults 21 years of age and older and also to medical marijuana patients and caregivers at the same location, they must be licensed by OLCC.
Dispensaries and Food Safety
On and after October 1, 2016, all dispensaries that sell edibles must obtain a food safety license from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). OAR 333-008-1200(9). In other words: In order for a dispensary to apply with ODA, every edible item the dispensary sells must have been made in an ODA approved kitchen. For more information, please contact ODA at 503- 986-4565 or visit the ODA cannabis website: https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/agriculture/Pages/Cannabis.aspx
As the Oregon cannabis industry continues to go through changes concerning the rules; I can only hope that dispensaries, processors, growers, caregivers, and patients are able to adapt to the upcoming modifications. By taking the time to gain clarification about the rule changes coming on October 1st, this gives everyone a chance to make the necessary adaptations in order to stay compliant with all the laws set into place.
*All information comes from Oregon Health Authority Informational Bulletin 2016-23*