by Anthony Taylor
Oregon Cannabis Connection
Anthony Taylor is the President of Compassionate Oregon and has unique access and insights into Oregon’s lawmaking process, much of which takes place in the Capitol building, near the corners of Church and State streets in Salem.
Let me begin by saying that “bump-up” canopies for medical marijuana produced within the OLCC system are not the same as “micro” canopies you can currently apply for a license through the OLCC.
“Micro” canopies are simply smaller versions of the larger canopy already available for licensing. These licenses for much smaller canopies (under 1250 sq ft) allow small growers access to the recreational market. All the requirements of the OLCC system, including security requirements and inspections, rigorous testing, packaging and labeling and seed-to-sale tracking are still required.
“Bump-up” canopies, on the other hand, are additional canopy allotments for current and future OLCC licensees who also want to grow medical cannabis for patients. A producer must OLCC-licensed to qualify for this additional canopy space or “bump-up,” and an additional fee is required.
How did we get here?
Many OMMP growers who wanted to become OLCC-licensed producers were already growing for large numbers of patients and wanted to continue to do so, but there was no way to bring them along or transfer to them once licensed. The legislature and the OLCC promised to create a mechanism for this to happen and initially created an “opt-in” method that would allow an OMMP grower to opt into the OLCC system while continuing to provide for patients during the transition.
This option proved unworkable and was replaced by new language in 2016 Senate Bill 1500, which would provide a “bump-up” in canopy size for an OLCC producers who wanted to provide for patients whether they had been doing so before they were licensed or not.
To qualify for the “bump-up” plan, an OMMP grower must secure an OLCC producer license and become part of the OLCC seed-to-sale tracking system.
Everyone thought this was great news! Now every OLCC producer could have a little larger canopy, they could transfer usable marijuana to patients and enter it into the METRC system, and everything else would go into the recreational market.
But the legislature didn’t write it up that way. They separated OLCC recreational cannabis from OLCC medical cannabis by requiring gardens to be separated. In addition, excess created from the production of marijuana for patients is not allowed to enter the recreational market. Medical marijuana that is produced may only be transferred to a patient, an OHA processor or an OHA dispensary. In addition, the legislature required the OLCC to convert from plants per patient to canopy size, and to limit the amount of marijuana that can be produced and transferred to a patient.
How Does It Work?
The OLCC has had rules drafted for the “bump-up’ canopy for quite some time now, but took no action until this past November when they held their first Rules Advisory Committee on the proposed rules.
It is hard to predict an outcome but here are some ideas that were discussed:
- The size of the “bump-up” canopy will be determined by matrix and will be based on a percentage of the currently licensed canopy.
- An increase in canopy size will be allowed for each patient added until a grower reaches the maximum “bump-up” canopy size.
- Growera cannot get the full additional canopy size with just one or two patients. They must have a minimum number of patients to qualify for the maximum “bump-up.”
- A fee will be charged for every patient a grower adds, up to a certain number that, once reached, may not be increased by adding additional patients.
- Each OHA grower who transitions in with patients will be allowed to transfer those patients’ plants and usable marijuana from their OHA grow to their OLCC-licensed premises.
- An OLCC licensee must enter into a personal agreement with each patient which, on a patient-by-patient basis, defines the amount the patient will be allowed for their needs, how often a patient can receive a transfer and what happens if a patient needs more than the original agreement allowed.
As a result of that November meeting and discussion, the proposed rules are being re-drafted and the OLCC has scheduled another meeting to discuss them in January. Hopefully, they will have them in place by planting time.
For patients, it is about time for the wait to be over.
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