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Travis Outlaw indicted for felony possession of marijuana in Mississippi

Travis Outlaw indicted for felony possession of marijuana in Mississippi

Former NBA player Travis Outlaw, 31, has been indicted by a grand jury for felony possession of marijuana in Starkville, Mississippi. 

The indictment revealed that Outlaw was in possession of greater than 250 grams of marijuana but less than one kilogram on July 23, 2015.

According to The Dispatch, Outlaw was arrested and booked at the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department for possession of a controlled substance. He was released that same day after posting a $ 10,000 bond.

The 6-foot-9 forward played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets and Sacramento Kings during his 11-year NBA career. He lasted played for Sacramento in 2014.

The Blazers selected Outlaw out of Starkville High School with the 23rd overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He had his best year with Portland in 2007 when he played in all 82 games, posting career-high averages in points (13.3), rebounds (4.6) and assists (1.3).

The Blazers traded Outlaw to the Clippers as part of a package deal for center Marcus Camby in 2010.

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Portable toilet discovered full of pot in Rogue River park

Portable toilet discovered full of pot in Rogue River park

ROGUE RIVER — Rogue River police say a man walking through a park discovered a portable toilet filled with marijuana plants.

The agency posted a photo on social media Wednesday, saying it’s the largest seizure of pot the department has ever made.

Marijuana grows are common in southern Oregon, which has some of the nation’s best conditions for outdoor cultivation.

Chief Ken Lewis on Thursday said police still don’t know how the pot got there. He said it could be anything from a pick-up point to a disgruntled resident making a statement about all the marijuana grows.

Lewis said a public works employee checked the toilet three hours before the discovery was made and it was empty. People playing tennis on a nearby court saw nothing suspicious.

— The Associated Press

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Marijuana has no medical value, will stay classified as dangerous drug, DEA rules

Marijuana has no medical value, will stay classified as dangerous drug, DEA rules

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday rejected requests to reclassify marijuana from its current status as a dangerous drug, though it will allow expanded production to support medical research.

The agency said it consulted with the U.S. Health and Human Services Department before making its decision. The review came in response to requests from the governors of Rhode Island and Washington, who asked the federal government to remove cannabis from its list of Schedule I substances. 

That category of drugs, which includes heroin, is defined as substances that have a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use.”

The DEA concluded that’s where marijuana, a drug used by one in 10 Oregonians, belongs.  

The agency said cannabis “does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” that there is a lack of “accepted safety for its use,” and it has “a high potential for abuse.”

The announcement disappointed cannabis legalization advocates in Oregon and nationwide who pressed the Obama administration to remove marijuana altogether from the federal government’s schedule of controlled substances. 

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, said he welcomes the policy shift that allows for increased medical research, but he slammed the federal government’s decision to maintain marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug. 

“This decision doesn’t go far enough and is further evidence that the DEA doesn’t get it,” said Blumenauer, who has been an outspoken proponent of reforming federal marijuana policy.

Retaining the drug’s status, he said in a statement, “continues an outdated, failed approach — leaving patients and marijuana businesses trapped between state and federal laws.”

Thursday’s decision does nothing to address issues confronting marijuana businesses operating in states like Oregon and Washington where the drug is legal. Legal marijuana producers and retailers, for example, have trouble accessing banking services because of the federal prohibition on marijuana.

Oregon is among 25 states where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use.  

Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called the decision “largely a political one and not a scientific one.”

“That the decision by the DEA fails to acknowledge the scientific evidence and the emerging public policy that is now in place in a majority of this country is simply an act of willful ignorance,” Armentano said.

Although the federal government decided to maintain marijuana prohibition, it also relaxed rules for producing cannabis for medical research. The government currently allows research on cannabis, but the approval process is especially complicated and involves marijuana produced under a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The product is cultivated at a government-run facility based at the University of Mississippi.

The DEA said marijuana producers who meet agency requirements may register with the agency to supply researchers, as well as “strictly commercial endeavors” that would allow for the development of pharmaceutical products.

The announcement makes clear that the agency will register a limited number of licenses to producers of research-grade cannabis. 

Dr. Colin Roberts, a pediatric neurologist and director of the Doernbecher Childhood Epilepsy Program at OHSU, said the prospect of an expanded supply of cannabis is promising.

Roberts’ program is participating in several active clinical trials on pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol produced by Insys, a pharmaceutical company. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a component of the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, cannabidiol does not have psychoactive properties.  

While the federal government’s announcement does little to ease the thicket of red tape for researchers, it could lead to a wider variety of strains and products for scientists to work with. He said it’s possible that OHSU may pursue an effort to produce cannabis for research. 

“It depends on do we have enough people interested in doing the research with those products?” he said. “I know there is a lot of interest in the state because we have a lot of people who feel they can produce high quality products.

“Our ability to take those products from them and use them for for research — we can’t do that now,” he said.

Mowgli Holmes, a biologist whose Oregon company is focused on cannabis genomics, said the federal decision to increase sources of research-grade marijuana “is a pretty small bone to throw at us.”

Holmes served on a state task force that earlier this year recommended the creation of an independent marijuana institute to support and conduct world-class research into the drug’s medical and public health benefits.

He said the new stance does nothing to address the bureaucratic burdens facing researchers who want to investigate marijuana. And it doesn’t allow for agricultural research into the plant.

“All the basic agricultural research that needs to be done still can’t be done under any circumstances,” Holmes said.

— Noelle Crombie

ncrombie@oregonian.com

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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Meet the Oregon man who wants to roll you a $10,000 joint

Meet the Oregon man who wants to roll you a $10,000 joint

How much is a joint worth to you? You can pick them up at local weed stores in Portland for just a couple bucks or, if you literally have money to burn, you can get ahold of Tony Greenhand, a professional joint roller from Albany, Oregon, who will roll you something that costs upwards of $ 10,000.

While his occupation may seem whimsical, Greenhand, 26, takes his craft seriously.

“I basically jump out of bed and start rolling joints,” he told Vocativ, who first reported on Greenhand.

“I normally work everyday. I don’t really take days off,” he told the Oregonian/OregonLive by phone Wednesday. “The only reason I’m taking tomorrow off is because it’s my birthday and my girl is making me.”

The effort he puts in shows, too. Each joint is intricately crafted, filled with as much as four pounds of weed and can take dozens of hours to create.

Despite the sophisticated design of each spliff, they are all smokable.

Greenhand, which is his “artist name,” has done well for himself. His skills are at enough of a premium that customers have flown him all over the country — to Puerto Rico and Aspen, most recently — and he’s gotten requests to travel overseas, but doesn’t have a passport at the moment.

And, though he didn’t disclose who exactly was on his client list, it’s safe to say that anyone who can afford his services isn’t worried about cash.

“I do this for myself. It’s like a fine dinner. I’m an artist,” he said. But getting to rub elbows with celebrities doesn’t hurt either.

“I get to meet people that other people would love to meet and they fawn over my work,” he said. “That part is great.”

A few years ago, Greenhand was just another guy rolling fancy joints for his buddies. But then, at the urging of his friends, he posted a picture of one his creations to Reddit and, within a day, he was taking orders from all over.

Now he has a manager and an Instagram account with nearly 100,000 followers. (He said the social media company has deleted his account five times when they suspected him of selling weed, but he insists that the customers provide the green most of the time)

Serving up spliffs to celebrities is great, Greenhand said, but his favorite joint was a realistic weed sculpture he made of Spider-Man, which fetched a fair sum that went directly to charity. His largest, and most expensive, creation? A life size watermelon filled with 4.2 pounds of weed that would have cost roughly $ 10,000 to purchase if Greenhand hadn’t smoked it himself.

So if you’ve ever had a hankering to fire up a Pikachu, a smokable taco or a replica of Tommy Chong’s head filled with weed, now you know who to get in touch with.

—   Kale Williams

kwilliams@oregonian.com

503-294-4048

@sfkale

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State slaps Portland dispensary owner with $40,000 fine in fraud inquiry

State slaps Portland dispensary owner with $40,000 fine in fraud inquiry

The woman at the center of Oregon’s first fraud investigation into a regulated marijuana business clearly knew about a fabricated letter that made bogus claims about her enterprise in an effort to lure investors, the state inquiry concluded.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services this week ordered Tisha Siler, CEO of a Northeast Portland pot dispensary called Cannacea, to pay $ 40,000 in fines for multiple violations of state securities law, including selling securities without a license.

The case against Siler is a “classic example of investment fraud in which an individual uses a new and potentially profitable industry as an enticement” to back an illegitimate company, agency spokesman Jake Sunderland said Friday.

He cautioned people to do their homework. “Check before you invest,” he said.

Siler has 20 days to appeal the order to an administrative law judge. She said via email that she plans to file a challenge. She denied preparing the fraudulent letter on Oregon Health Authority letterhead and said she didn’t “ask or direct anyone to do so. Period.”

Sunderland said an extensive Oregonian/OregonLive article about the state’s investigation helped bring the case to a close. The agency started looking into Siler and Cannacea last year.

“Leads generated by … (the) story helped us direct our investigation to a place where we were able to confirm that Siler created the documents,” he said.

Katy Young, an attorney for Green Rush Consulting, a California company that did work for Cannacea, said that after story published, her firm hired a company with forensic computer expertise to determine where the fake letter originated.

She said the expert determined that it came from an account associated with Cannacea and Siler. She said another email that included Siler’s feedback on investor material also came from a Cannacea account. Young said she forwarded the computer expert’s findings to Dorothy Bean, an attorney with the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

It was that analysis that led the state to link the letter to Siler, Sunderland said.

Siler told officials that Green Rush or one of the company’s associates created the letter “without her knowledge or permission.” (The company isn’t affiliated with the Portland-based Green Rush Advisory Group.)

“To the contrary, the …  letter was created by Siler” or by someone else “at her direction,” said the state’s 11-page order, signed by Patrick Allen, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

The state concluded that it was Siler who provided Green Rush with the bogus letter and that she had personally given the letter to one or more prospective investors.

In late 2014 and early 2015, four people invested a total of $ 225,000 in Cannacea, the state found. Siler earlier this year informed the state that Cannacea had temporarily closed; on Friday, state officials said the dispensary’s status hadn’t changed.

Siler also told state investigators that she didn’t review materials created for potential investors. The materials contained numerous false claims about Siler’s business. But the state investigation found she had, in fact, reviewed and made revisions at least once.

Among the fraudulent claims: that Oregon regulators personally invited Siler to open medical marijuana dispensaries; that regulators would pre-approve up to six dispensary licenses with limited red tape; and that Siler would be consulted by state regulators crafting rules for recreational marijuana.

In its order, the state noted that Siler failed to take action to remove multiple misrepresentations. It concluded that she was complicit in allowing bogus information to circulate among numerous potential investors.

Siler’s attorney, Frank Elsasser, said he and Siler were disappointed with the decision.

“The state’s order appears to be based upon only a small portion of the record submitted, relies upon evidence from unreliable sources, and makes no reference to any evidence submitted in support of Cannacea,” Elsasser said in a statement.

The state also issued a cease-and-desist order against Green Rush, which investigators said failed to independently verify the accuracy of the information in the fake health authority letter or the information included in the investor materials.

Green Rush is prohibited from engaging in any business activity related to securities in Oregon without permission from the Department of Consumer and Business Services. The company, however, can continue to offer its consulting services in Oregon.

The state imposed a $ 20,000 fine on the company but suspended $ 12,500, provided Green Rush complies with the state’s conditions.

Green Rush representatives said their involvement with Cannacea has damaged their company. They said they’ve taken steps to tighten their hiring practices and are committed to doing their own homework on clients early in the process.

“There is a lot of white collar crime out there and people trying to take advantage of people,” said Zeta Ceti, founder and CEO of Green Rush Consulting. “It’s very important for the industry as a whole that everyone needs to understand and do as much due diligence as possible.”

— Noelle Crombie

ncrombie@oregonian.com

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

  Green Rush Consent Order.pdf

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In a first, Oregon State Fair to feature marijuana plants

In a first, Oregon State Fair to feature marijuana plants

The Oregon State Fair celebrates oddities like the “curviest vegetable” and the “most misshapen fruit.” Fairgoers can marvel over award-winning onions and pumpkins and snap photos of the top pig and llama.

This year, the state fair is adding a new attraction: prize-winning marijuana plants. For the first time, Oregon’s marijuana crop will be on display at the annual event, which runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 5.

Don Morse, chairman of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, the sponsor of the marijuana exhibit, said nine plants will be displayed in a greenhouse that will have its own entrance and exit. The area will be monitored by a security guard. Only people 21 and older will be allowed in.

Fair officials said the inclusion of cannabis plants is a nod to the newly legal status of the crop.

“This is really a reflection of where Oregon is now as a state,” said Dan Cox, spokesman for the fair.

He said the state fair is an “inclusive sort of forum,” especially when it comes to agricultural commodities. He said the fair is moving in the “direction that the entire state is moving.”

Morse said the plants will have ribbons just like any other prize-winning crop. The plants will come to the fair having already been judged by a panel of marijuana growers, including Ed Rosenthal, a well-known author and cannabis expert.

“We are doing it 4H style,” he said. “You get a blue, purple or yellow ribbon. We are celebrating the plant as a farm crop from Oregon.”

Fairgoers hoping for a sample will be disappointed, Morse said.

“We are not promoting the use of cannabis,” he said. “We are there to show plants to people over 21 what award-winning cannabis plants look like.”

— Noelle Crombie
ncrombie@oregonian.com
503-276-7184
@noellecrombie

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Sockeye, a Portland ad company, takes on marijuana client

Sockeye, a Portland ad company, takes on marijuana client

After working quietly for three years with a marijuana company, a well known ad firm in Portland came out Friday with its first video advertising campaign.

It features a cannabis-infused drink, but the actors could just as well be drinking beer.

The ad, which features a casual backyard party where people sip the marijuana-infused soda, underscores how much cannabis has merged into mainstream culture, at least in parts of the Pacific Northwest.

At first, Andy Fraser, Sockeye CEO, was cautious about working with the marijuana market. After all, the company’s high-profile accounts include Oregon Health & Science University, the Portland Children’s Museum and the University of Oregon. Sockeye has also done work for The Oregonian/OregonLive.

“We were raised with, ‘This is wrong,’ and it’s hard to shed that predisposition,” he said.

But when his friend Adam Stites, an entrepreneur with experience in e-commerce, came to him with an idea for the marijuana edibles market, Fraser was intrigued.

“There is no question there was some hesitation,” he said. “It’s a polarizing subject matter, but we have just taken the approach that here is a great entrepreneur making a great product and doing it really well.”

Fraser said Sockeye helped Stites research the market to figure out which new product might appeal to consumers. Marijuana consumers already have plenty of cookie and candies to choose from so Sockeye and Stites came up with the idea for a sparkling soda.

The name of the drink: Legal.

The product launched in Washington’s recreational marijuana market in 2014 and is now available to consumers 21 and older in Oregon.

With help from Portland filmmaker James Westby, Sockeye produced a video for Legal featuring a scene that could have unfolded in any Portland backyard. A band, with Westby as frontman, plays on a patio for a dozen or so friends who appear to be unwinding after the work week.

The catchy jingle highlights a new type of soda, whose retro label and stubby brown bottle could easily be mistaken for the latest kombucha or craft beer. The ad doesn’t feature pot leaves, green crosses or bikini-clad women, some of the more common images associated with marijuana.

The idea, said Fraser and Westby, was to pitch the drink like wine or high-end tea.

Aimee Huff, an assistant professor of marketing at Oregon State University who has studied marijuana advertising in Colorado, said Sockeye’s ad targets consumers new to cannabis or people who don’t want to smoke. She said the ad, which echoes alcohol advertising, is clearly an effort to give the product mainstream appeal.

“Nothing they are doing is groundbreaking or edgy,” Huff said. “You see a range of different body types, ethnicities and genders. They are normal people doing what normal people do on a Friday night: relaxing at a barbecue.”

That was the point, said Stites, whose company is called Mirth Provisions.

“We wanted to break some of the stigma that’s common in cannabis, the stoner mentality,” he said.  

Fraser isn’t clamoring for more cannabis accounts. He’s already turned down prospective clients, worried that their products lack broad appeal.

Said Fraser: “We want to make sure that if we are going to work with cannabis brands, we are going to do it with one that is doing it right, that they are super careful about how they are doing it.”

— Noelle Crombie

ncrombie@oregonian.com

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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Marijuana as a sex aid? Pot sellers hope so

Marijuana as a sex aid? Pot sellers hope so

Here’s the thing: When you’re writing about pot-infused products aimed at making sex more fun, there’s going to be nervous laughter and possibly blushing. There will be awkward pauses, and maybe a few too many “ums,” as the mind searches for the right words.

Or maybe that was just me.

During the past year or so, sensual oils have materialized on Oregon’s marijuana dispensary shelves, adding to the surprising ways pot is marketed. Entrepreneurs have come up with pot treats to ease your aging pet’s arthritis, tinctures to slip into your morning tea and balms that offer a buzz while soothing chapped lips.

It was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way to put pot to an especially intimate use.

These products, which typically include coconut or almond oil, essential oils and a potent dose of cannabis, are typically aimed at women who are told to apply the oil before sex and, well, enjoy.

Trista Okel says people probably won’t get high using her Portland company’s Empower 4Play oil. They may just feel a different sort of sensation.

“It’s not numbing,” she said. “It’s not like that. It’s slightly tingly and warm.”

The product tagline: “Put it where you please.”

But be advised: These oils can degrade latex condoms.

And that’s a worry for people trying to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, said Kim Jones, a professor of nursing at Oregon Health & Science University and a nurse practitioner. What’s more, there’s no research to support their safety, she said.

“You are putting these products in an intimate part of your body,” she said. “If you are willing to try something that has no science to back it up – these products would be in that realm.”

Data out of Colorado and Washington show that topical products, like salves, lotions, bath salts and personal lubricants, make up less than 1 percent of sales, according to BDS Analytics, a Colorado-based firm that tracks cannabis sales and market data. Personal lubricants and oils make up a sliver of the tiny topical market.

Claire Kaufmann, a regional director for BDS Analytics, said topical products and others like marijuana-infused edibles still need to address key issues like consistency and efficacy before they take off with consumers.

“Novelty products will always have a place in cannabis, whether or not that particular market category will see aggressive growth, only time will tell,” she said. “It will come down to whether these products consistently deliver for the consumer.”

As with many aspects of marijuana, the evidence on effectiveness of pot-infused sensual oils is anecdotal. Some consumers say the products made a good experience better. Others said they didn’t add much.

Emma Chasen, a budtender at Farma on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, put it this way:

“It felt really good, but it usually feels good. I honestly can’t say the cannabis made it so amazing.”

Angela Bacca, a Portland writer and editor, said she was disappointed at first. And then one product delivered.

“It definitely heightened the sensation,” said Bacca, who wrote about her experience in a blog post she called “How I finally got my vagina high” for a marijuana culture site called Merry Jane. “For a lot of women, it’s hard to focus on things. It’s easy to get distracted. When you are that much aware of the feeling, it’s hard to get distracted.

“It definitely improved sex,” she said.

Others said they prefer cannabis oils over drugstore lubricants not because they experienced a difference but because the ingredients were familiar.

“For me, it makes it more appealing if it’s safe for me to eat,” said Zoe Wilder, a Portland writer and former budtender. “Then I know it’s safe for me to put in my sensitive areas.”

Sally Alworth, an owner of Portland-based Luminous Botanicals, heard from consumers who were using her medicinally focused cannabis oil for sex. Intrigued, Alworth and her business partner conducted their own experiments.

“Individually, with our own partners, we gave it a try, and we both had great reactions to it,” she said.

So they decided to market a separate product as a sensual oil.

“It’s packaged a little differently,” she said. “It has a different essential oil blend to make it feel more bedroom-oriented.”

At first, Adrian Brown, a longtime marijuana enthusiast, was skeptical. Then he gave the products a try.

Now, he’s a fan.

“I can get into further detail if you need,” he offered generously.

Nah, we’re good.

— Noelle Crombie

ncrombie@oregonian.com

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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Marijuana labs prepping for regulation and oversight; no lab licenses issued yet

Marijuana labs prepping for regulation and oversight; no lab licenses issued yet

Starting Oct. 1, new products headed to marijuana dispensary shelves will have to undergo a battery of tests that assess potency and look for biological contaminants such as E. coli, residual solvents from the extraction process used to make oil, and dozens of pesticides.

The policy shift transforms Oregon’s marijuana labs from an unregulated cottage industry into a central part of the state’s regulated market. Yet while hundreds of prospective marijuana producers have flooded the Oregon Liquor Control Commission with applications for licenses, only eight testing labs have applied so far. None has received a license yet.

That trickle of applications worries state officials who hope to license at least three labs by late summer. Without enough labs to test a large volume of samples, growers risk not getting their products tested and onto the market.

“No product will flow through retail without having labs in the process to do the testing,” said Steven Marks, executive director of the liquor commission.

Officials don’t know exactly how many samples will need to be processed weekly to keep stores stocked. Already the state has issued more than 130 producer licenses, most of them to large-scale operations. The liquor commission’s own analysis estimates that labs will test about 2,500 samples each month to meet demand, figures based on the experience in Colorado and Washington.

Marks said licensed marijuana growers who got an early start on production may see delays getting their goods into stores if labs aren’t ready.

“The problem with our early growers is if there is no lab capacity,” said Marks, “they will be landlocked with their product.”

States with regulated marijuana markets have grappled with how to deal with testing. Connecticut, Nevada and Washington require routine pesticide screening for medical marijuana. Currently, Colorado does not require regular pesticide testing for cannabis. 

Under Oregon’s new rules, labs must meet the same stringent standards as the environmental laboratories that test water and soil. They have to undergo a state accreditation process and obtain a license from the liquor commission. For labs, the requirements mean buying additional equipment and hiring experienced staff.

Part of the accreditation program, which is overseen by three state agencies, involves running blind tests on pesticide-spiked samples provided by an outside company. Those tests help confirm that a lab’s equipment can detect certain chemicals. Labs have to run the tests on all 59 pesticides on the state’s list. Similar tests are required for solvents and potency before labs can be accredited.

Shannon Swantek, a compliance specialist with the division that accredits labs, said she’s received 34 partial applications from labs and three complete ones. She estimates 10 to 15 labs will be accredited by Oct. 1. Those labs must then undergo a separate licensing process through the liquor commission before they can begin testing for the new market.

Alex Hoggan, who has spent about $ 750,000 to equip his Milwaukie lab, Chemhistory, said he and his employees are focused on accreditation. He has not yet applied for a state license.

“We think we can do it, but it’s going to be right to the edge,” Hoggan said.

He said the new approach to testing is likely to have a broad impact. He predicted growers and processors will see two major shifts: The price of tests will rise because they are more sophisticated and comprehensive than what’s in place now and concentrate makers will see a high failure rate among their products.

Those products, which include butane hash oil, tend to concentrate not just THC but pesticides. For instance, a flower that passes the state’s pesticide screen may flunk once it’s processed into oil.

“It’s really hard to find clean cannabis at the moment,” Hoggan said. “If we were testing to the new (recreational) law, which we will be doing in a couple months, there will be a lot of fails. I mean a lot. The question is: Have the growers had enough time to figure out their pesticide use?”

Rodger Voelker, lab director at OG Analytical in Eugene, has long pressed the state to tighten its lab standards and oversight. He said he, too, is working on getting his lab through the accreditation process and has not yet applied for a license.

“It’s all good stuff, but it takes a lot of time,” he said. “We certainly are trying, but it’s a complicated process. I knew it would be, but until you get into it you don’t appreciate how complicated it gets.”

Jeremy Sackett, co-founder and director of operations for Cascadia Labs, said food safety and pharmaceutical laboratories typically get a year or longer to adapt to major regulatory shifts; marijuana labs were given the state’s final rules this year. Still, he expects his two labs, one in Portland and the other in Bend, to be ready to take samples by early fall.

That’s good news for growers like Laura Rivero, operations manager for Yerba Buena, a licensed recreational producer in Washington County. Rivero said her facility has already had its first harvest. By October, she expects the large-scale operation to have as many as 10 more.

“We were prepared to flip the switch the day we got our license, and that is exactly what we did,” she said.

She said if labs aren’t ready to take Yerba Buena’s product, she’ll end up stockpiling it.

“We don’t have much of a choice,” she said. “We can’t transfer it to anyone who is not licensed. It creates a major storage issue for us.”

Even if there’s a lag in getting product into the new recreational market this fall, consumers may not see much of a difference.

Marks expects a gradual transition from medical dispensaries to recreational shops starting in October. Dispensaries may have inventory they want to sell before they switch to the system overseen by the liquor commission. Shops have until the end of December to make the switch if they plan to sell on the recreational market.

Long term, Marks said his chief concern isn’t a limited supply of marijuana. He worries about having too much. The state didn’t cap how many licenses the liquor commission can issue; more than 1,100 applications have already been filed, about 760 of them from producers.

“We will have a lot of production in our system,” he said. “That’s what I worry about more — when the market experiences this heavy supply of marijuana and Oregonians can’t find their way to consume any more and people are stuck with all this production.”

— Noelle Crombie

ncrombie@oregonian.com

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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Portland signs off on marijuana festival featuring free samples

Portland signs off on marijuana festival featuring free samples

It’s legal to possess, grow and buy marijuana in Oregon, but state clean air laws and local rules have put a damper on public festivals featuring giveaways and consumption.

The Oregon Cannabis Association has found a way to host a summer fair where members of the public — as long as they’re 21 and older — can take home free samples. 

The Summer Fair, featuring dozens of Oregon producers and processors, will be held July 24 at the North Warehouse in Portland. 

Amy Margolis, a Portland lawyer with the cannabis association, said the event is designed to showcase Oregon’s marijuana industry and give consumers a chance to learn more about products sold in dispensaries. 

“It’s a way to meet new people who are interested in this market,” she said.

The association addressed the city’s rules by not charging admission, Margolis said.

Portland officials have made clear they plan to crack down on events that allow consumption or hand out samples at events where people pay to get in. The city views paid admission to a fair where marijuana is handed out as similar to selling pot – something only licensed marijuana businesses can do under the law.

Public cannabis consumption is also prohibited so people who collect free samples at the Summer Fair won’t be allowed to smoke or vape on site. 

Victor Salinas, the city’s marijuana policy coordinator, said Thursday that the city has advised organizers to check photo identification of attendees, as well as hire “enough security to monitor the perimeter to make sure no one is entering other than by the established entrance and exit.”

City officials earlier this year said they would ramp up pot-related enforcement efforts with the addition of four compliance officers, whose salaries come out of marijuana licensing fees. Salinas said those officers may visit the fair to ensure compliance with city rules.

Organizers or promoters of the events who violate the rules — and owners of the property where they are held — can face fines of as much as $ 5,000, according to city officials.

— Noelle Crombie

ncrombie@oregonian.com

503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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