Portland, Oregon – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has approved 762 recreational marijuana licenses through the first week of January 2017, fulfilling the commitment to start-up a regulated system by the end of 2016. The OLCC began accepting recreational marijuana license applications in January 2016 and issued the first licenses in May 2016.
“Our staff has worked nonstop and with determination to get this industry licensed,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “Working after hours, working weekends, traveling long distances, this team has been flexible in getting this industry licensed, without compromising the trust placed in us to protect the public.”
During the weeks leading up to the December 31st end of “early start” sales at Oregon Health Authority registered dispensaries, the OLCC received a surge in applications, especially for retail recreational marijuana licenses. In December alone the OLCC received an additional 175 applications for recreational marijuana licenses bringing the total to 1,907 applications received during 2016. Before licensing began the OLCC projected it would receive between 800 and 1200 applications during the first year of licensing.
The OLCC has also approved 9,041 Marijuana Worker Permits out of 10,700 permit applications submitted to the agency.
“The staff has done a wonderful job getting the industry stood up during the last year, but we still have a lot of work to do in terms of continuing to license the industry,” said Will Higlin, OLCC Senior Director of Licensing and Compliance. “In addition we will begin to shift resources to focus on industry compliance to ensure public safety.”
The OLCC will step up its compliance work across all license categories. As an example when inspectors visit licensed premises they will be checking to make sure employees have in their possession, or can provide proof of having applied for an OLCC marijuana worker permit. All individuals employed by OLCC recreational marijuana licensees are required to obtain a worker permit, but it is the responsibility of a licensee, not an employee, that the employees working for the licensee have been issued a permit.