Plenty of states across America introduced cannabis laws in 2021. Like anything new and unfamiliar, there is a necessary process of trial and error before cementing the framework for a legal market to thrive. Places like California, for instance, have struggled to keep their cannabis industry from collapsing. Advocates and executives joined forces to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to enact some sort of freeze on the high taxations that are not only eating into profits of cultivators but their livelihoods, as well.
And while California might have one of the oldest cannabis markets in the country, other states seek to implement change before the possibility of an industry collapse emerges. Oregon announced new laws would come into effect in 2022, many of which have already gone into effect as of January 1st, per Statesman Journal.
As the market evolves and the state builds its industry for success, the new regulatory changes aim to benefit consumers and cannabis operators. Perhaps, one of the most notable differences for recreational users in the state is that Oregon has now doubled the amount of cannabis one can purchase at a time. Like many places where cannabis is legal, Oregon limited consumers to one ounce of marijuana at a time. Now, consumers will buy a 2-ounce bag of cannabis without hassle.
Oregon’s Liquor and Cannabis Commission approved new measures during a Dec. 28th meeting. The new regulations intend to help the flow of oversight in the cannabis industry while also providing consumers the option of higher THC potency limits and more product choices. They also hope to decrease violations for cannabis operators and bring in new measures to prevent children from accessing hemp products, including THC.
Officials explained that the need for these new rules is in response to the rapid growth of the cannabis industry. However, they’re also making it clear that they expect cannabis to be legal at a federal level soon. Officials said these new laws would help place Oregon align with other states in America that have legalized cannabis while preparing to potentially begin exporting cannabis if there are significant changes with the federal government.
The increased THC potency limits not only apply to flower but edibles, as well. As of April 1st, cannabis edibles can be as potent as 100 mg per package, double the current limits. Single-serving portions are restricted to 10mg and require markings to state the dosage. However, there will be measures to prevent products with large amounts of THC from ending up in the general market as of July 1st. Hemp products remain legal, though the commission will restrict 2 mg of THC per single serving and 20 mg of THC per package.
Customers will be able to access plenty of different high-potency products in the coming months. However, the commission is already accepting label applications for edible products beyond the 50 mg threshold. Even with the approval from the commission for high THC edible products, they will only be able to hit shelves across the state on April 1st.
The commission also addressed the issue of non-intoxicating synthetic cannabinoids in food products. Products with cannabinol (CBN), for example, would require testing and meet the regulatory standard for a New Dietary Ingredient notification, Generally Recognized As Safe — a process that licensees will have up to 18 months to get approved.
A benefit for the cultivators and cannabis operators is reducing time and cost in submitting information into Oregon’s Cannabis Tracking System. License holders will have more time and resources to self-distribute products as the time and costs to tag plants and report harvests can quickly become burdensome.
Home delivery services in Oregon will also expand beyond city or county borders. Laws already allowed delivery services, but the latest regulation update provides delivery services to cross city and county lines, as long as the region approves.
Two bills played a significant role in outlining these new laws, which passed in 2021. House Bill 3000 created the structure to help crack down on THC-containing hemp products sold in an unregulated market. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 408 helped introduce the new laws that would benefit licensees.