Oregon’s Marijuana Minor Decoy Results: Not Great, But Not Terrible

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Oregon marijuana cannabis
Better than booze is not good enough.

On January 10, Oregon’s cannabis regulatory body, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (“OLCC”), sent out a notice to its listserv titled “Licensees Across Oregon Fail to Stop Sales to Minors.” The notice details the results of a series of minor decoy tests that the OLCC conducted between December 20, 2017 and December 29, 2017. Admittedly, the results are not great:

  • Dec. 20 – Eugene/Springfield – 16/19 passed – 84% compliance
  • Dec. 21 – Keizer-Salem – 18/23 passed – 78% compliance
  • Dec. 21 – Portland – 3/7 passed – 43% compliance
  • Dec. 28 – Central Oregon – 5/5 passed – 100% compliance
  • Dec. 29 – Southern Oregon – 8/12 passed – 67% compliance
  • Total – 50/66 passed – 76% compliance

The email notice was accompanied by a quote from Steve Marks, the Executive Director of the OLCC: “These overall results are unacceptable. One of the basic tenets of Measure 91 is the protection of children by discouraging their use of marijuana. Oregonians who voted for legalizing recreational marijuana implicitly told the cannabis industry to abide by public safety laws. Clearly they’re not, and we need to continue this type of enforcement activity.”

These results generated quite a bit of bad press for the Oregon industry, but we should take a moment to take a closer look at the numbers before declaring that Oregon’s cannabis industry is “clearly … not” abiding by public safety laws.

First, it should be noted that the January 10 email excludes the results of an OLCC decoy operation in Bend that occurred on December 19, 2017. All twenty locations passed. A more accurate picture of the OLCC cannabis decoy operation looks like:

  • Dec. 19 – Bend – 20/20 passed – 100% compliance
  • Dec. 20 – Eugene/Springfield – 16/19 passed – 84% compliance
  • Dec. 21 – Keizer-Salem – 18/23 passed – 78% compliance
  • Dec. 21 – Portland – 3/7 passed – 43% compliance
  • Dec. 28 – Central Oregon – 5/5 passed – 100% compliance
  • Dec. 29 – Southern Oregon – 8/12 passed – 67% compliance
  • Total – 70/86 passed – 82% compliance

Let’s compare this to the last six days of OLCC alcohol decoy testing:

  • Nov. 18 – Redmond/Sisters – 26/31 passed – 84% compliance
  • Nov. 20 – West Linn – 6/8 passed – 75% compliance
  • Nov. 30 – Bend – 10/15 passed – 67% compliance
  • Dec. 6 – Hermiston/Stanfield/Umatilla City – 16/24 passed – 67% compliance
  • Dec. 27 – Tigard – 11/12 passed – 92% compliance
  • Dec. 28 – Madras/Terrebonne – 8/9 passed – 89% compliance
  • Total – 77/99 passed – 78% compliance

On the whole, the cannabis industry outperformed the alcohol industry. Of course, the alcohol industry is not operating under a microscope due to federal prohibition and a hostile administration. The cannabis industry needs to be flawless, but still, the Oregon alcohol industry has had decades to get it together.

The second thing to keep in mind is that the OLCC’s sample size was quite small. There are currently 516 active recreational retailers in Oregon. The OLCC only tested about 17% of active retailers. Perhaps the most eye-popping statistic is that only 43% of Portland retailers passed, but remember that only 4% of active Portland retailers were tested (7/160).

The take-away here is that recreational dispensaries in Oregon must do better, but we are not facing an epidemic of sales to minors. We can and will do better. Owners need to focus their efforts on employee training, as it is now even more clear that the actions of a single poorly trained employee can have disastrous consequences for your business and potentially for the entire industry.

Source: https://www.cannalawblog.com/oregons-marijuana-minor-decoy-results-not-great-but-not-terrible/

 

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