House approves tighter tracking for medical marijuana

The Oregon House Monday passed a Senate bill tightening regulations for the tracking of medical marijuana. The bill goes to the governor.

SALEM — The Oregon House of Representatives Monday passed a bill 51-to-7 that requires medical marijuana to undergo the same tight-looped tracking as the recreational product.

“The core purpose of this bill is to make sure that we eliminate the illegal market by enhancing tracking and other associated things that will prevent diversion from Oregon’s legal marijuana sector to the illegal market,” said Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, co-chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation.

The effort to pass the reforms took on more urgency after the Trump administration indicated it could crack down on marijuana commerce in states where the drug has been legalized, committee members have indicated.

The requirement is the most significant of several tweaks the bill makes to Oregon’s marijuana regulations.

The Senate passed the bill 23-to-6 on May 10.

Under existing law, medical producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers have to self-report to the Oregon Health Authority how much marijuana they have. The bill requires all of that product to be tracked with a bar code or computer chip that follows the plant from a seedling to its final product.

The bill exempts medical marijuana cardholders and home growers from the tracking requirements.

The legislation also requires:

• OHA to create an electronic database to track medical marijuana cardholder activity and to share that information with the Department of Revenue and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

• Adding two commissioners to the OLCC from Eastern Oregon and Western Oregon.

• Financial disclosures to the OLCC by people with a financial interest in a marijuana business applying for a license.

• OLCC to pursue disciplinary action against a former licensee even if the license has been revoked or suspended. (OLCC previously did not have that enforcement authority over former licensees.)

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