Oregon Cannabis Business Council Founder Has Marijuana Workers Permit Revoked

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The President of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council and former owner and operator of the now shuttered Human Collective II dispensary had his marijuana worker permit revoked by the state after he lied to regulators and committed a number of rule violations. Donald Morse founded and currently runs the Oregon Cannabis Business Council (OCBC), a small association of cannabis businesses in Oregon that lobbies the legislature on cannabis rules and laws.

Donald Morse, his wife, and one other individual recently lost a civil lawsuit for $300,000 dollars to Sarah Bennett for failure to follow through with their contractual obligations to buy out her shares of Human Collective II. Testimony from Bennett and former employees during trial exposed a number of disturbing facts about Morse that showed his lack of integrity. Intoxication at work, asking employees to break state rules, deceiving board members about the case with Bennett and other questionable behavior was brought to light at trial and in our own investigations.

Charges from Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) stemmed from Morse’s actions at the time when the Human Collective closed and the businesses assets were switched to the new owner. Morse lied to regulators regarding the disposition of nearly 100 edible marijuana items that he had claimed were destroyed. In fact, the edibles were at Morse’s home, which he admitted to later. The public notice, which was the very last item in a larger OLCC update on December 21, stated:

“In addition, the Commission accepted the findings of an Oregon administrative law judge upholding the revocation of a Marijuana Worker permit held by Donald Morse, and also upholding the issuance of a final order for a letter of reprimand for The Human Collective, a defunct licensed marijuana retailer, which Morse formerly co-operated.”

We reached out to Morse for comment but received no response.

Former Human Collective II manager Ric Leonetti said in his resignation letter, “[Morse] has instructed me—and I have refused—to violate Oregon State Law regarding the handling of product, the adjustment of inventory, and price manipulation during business hours. There is ongoing pressure to violate the law, which I cannot be a part of .”

Steve Allen, a former employee at Human Collective II, said about Morse, “I knew without Rick it was just a matter of time that Don would come back there ask me to do something unethical. I think it was only one day when he came back and asked me to do something unethical and I told him no.”

Don Morse, Human Collective, Sarah Bennett, OCBC
Sarah Bennett and Don Morse in an interview with Digital Journal in 2012. Image: Carol Forsloff for Digital Journal

“It’s new era in the Oregon Cannabis market and OLCC has made the right decision based upon the facts,” Sarah Bennett told us in regards to the decision. “Our Oregon Cannabis industry continues to evolve and this adds to our progression in a very positive way. Eliminating those who self-proclaim compliance and transparency, only to find that their actions speak to the extreme contrary, is a huge step in our industry’s advancement.”

Donald Morse’s current endeavor is his small Oregon cannabis business association, the OCBC, which lobbies for issues on behalf of its members. They have an undetermined number of actual dues paying members, though many more businesses are on their “membership” page. They claim over fifty members, but that is highly questionable. Most of the businesses listed that we contacted said they are no longer members.

We reached out to over a dozen of the businesses listed on his website. We were curious if they knew of the decision by the OLCC and wanted to see if the fact that the president of the cannabis business organization is now banned from working in the Oregon cannabis industry would affect their continued membership in the association. None of the companies responded to our inquiries.

Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at occnewspaper420@gmail.com

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