Pete Pontificates: On OLCC Rule Making

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The OLCC isn’t just in a rule making process, they’re in the mother of all rulemaking processes. This summer is going to see more new committees attempting to promulgate more new rules for our new industry. The level of difficulty: They have no idea why they are making rules, or what they are making rules on, or for, or about.

I remember in 2015, after finishing the bulk of the first round on the OLCC’s Licensing, Compliance, and Enforcement Committee, I had more that I wanted to write into rule to streamline the regulatory process. I was told, “Peter, we’re done here … If you want something else done, figure out a way to do it yourself.” More on that later.

I was asked what I’m going to do next. My response was, “Continue rulemaking until 2020 when we have federal descheduling.” I was told I’m an incurable optimist. I’m not. I’m a pragmatist. “What then?” “Spend the next five years taking apart all of the ridiculous rules that were just put in to place” was their response.

Honest-to-god, they thought they were going to make every rule that ever needed making and wash their hands of it in a year … done! The term ‘herding cats’ has been used as an invective against people involved in this industry, but it applies equally to regulators as well.

The bureaucrats could not then, and cannot still, understand the complexity of governance of a living organism–the plant that I speak for and defend. But all intention good or bad aside, they attempt to. In the mean time, one of the things I’ve been doing is educating the boots on the ground, non-OLCC employees about how to make things work for this industry in a regulated environment. (I told you I was coming back to that.)

Meanwhile I have some suggestions I’d like to make to help the rulemakers be better at their jobs. So without further ado, helpful tips for understanding the regulatory structure for the regulators:

First, prior to making any rule about cannabis, one must first consume cannabis. We can start them out gently, with some of the pre-rolls from hemp farms that are a CBD product, and work our way up through sativas to some heady indica doobies. To regulate properly, you must first understand exactly what it is you are regulating. I’ve consumed over 200 different varieties in short spans of time. They can get to know a few.

Second, anyone inspecting a production site must ‘dab-out’ in the trim room one time. You can’t really have a solid grasp of the process without understanding what it is the workers there go through every day, and nothing is more informative when it comes to the mundane end of process work than waking up on a foam mat in the corner wondering where you are and how you got there. We don’t get high trimming, we get high to trim. Critical difference.

Third, anyone inspecting a processor must not only be able to pronounce words like ‘cannabinoid’ but actually understand what that word means. Written test, yo! Terpenes, flavonoids, cannabigerol and cannabichromene and what they do, and don’t do, will be on the test. This is not optional. It’s demonstrating the understanding of the complex relationships between the vast array of subsets of chemicals that make this ‘high’ we hear so much about. If you can’t pass this one, I’d suggest going back to evaluating expired parking meters.

Speaking of strict enforcement, let’s talk about a rule for inspections of food facilities – edibles makers. There seems to be some concern about making sure all that chocolate gets in to the correct packages, and none is ‘diverted’. So, here you go … Anyone inspecting a commercial kitchen must, once, lick the spatula at 2:30 p.m. After that they shall be driven home and tucked into bed. When they wake up late the next morning, a car will be sent to retrieve them. After being returned to the manufacturer (and their own car) any ideas about employees entertaining themselves on the job should be dispelled. A shovel full of 50mg/gram edibles will set anybody’s head straight, after it spins it off.

And, about that process work. ALL employees shall either spend 6 months in field work on a SunGrown farm, or 3 months of 10 hour days in a greenhouse. You want to know what we’re doing with that weed? You want to know where the clones and seed starts went? You want to know why wet weight is irrelevant, and dry weight is what matters? Or, how even dry weight changes? Come, let us reason together. It is better to walk a mile in these shoes and understand, than to make gross assumptions. Remember that when you assume you make an ass out of u and me. Apologies to CCR, but Down On The Farm is where the learnin’ occurs.

Now granted your average salaried bureaucrat isn’t going to consume anywhere near what an OMMP patient needs, or have the same reaction to it either. But for the sake of equity, shouldn’t they at least have some vague idea of what they’re talking about?

I’ll leave with this … Under the auspices of public health and safety is where these rules originate, and that is where the rules should stay. As hard as it may be for some people to understand, there are some things that really don’t need to be regulated. Just like our theoretical inspector that has one too many and ‘dabs out’, life has a way of finding it’s balance. Homeostasis. Equilibrium. Instead of moving ever towards more control, of something which is inherently uncontrollable (how’s that drug war working out for you?), let’s move towards the type of responsible regulations that allow people to make their own choices. Unfettered, unencumbered by excessive oversight, and free to follow their conscience.

Civitas dei.

Pioneer Pete lost his sense of humor somewhere in the regulatory process. If you find it, mail it post paid to P.O. Box 420, Wolf Creek, OR 97497 (yes that’s a real address). Or hand deliver at an OSGG meeting. Be careful either way, it could be messy.

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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