Oregon October 1st Compliance Deadline: What You Need to Know

By Aaron G. Biros
2 Comments

Testing, packaging, labeling and concentration limit requirements have changed, with some interesting restrictions on strain names.

Oregon cannabis regulators began enforcing new rules over the weekend when the October 1st compliance deadline passed. Compared to the relatively cut-and-dried new Colorado regulations, the Oregon cannabis market faces more complex and changing regulatory compliance issues.

The new rules in Oregon address changes to testing, packaging and labeling regulations along with concentration and serving size limits, according to a bulletin published by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) earlier this week. Most of the new rules are meant to add safeguards for public health and consumer safety, while putting an emphasis on keeping cannabis away from children.oha_logo_lrg

Around the same time, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) published a bulletin with a new temporary rule that is meant to prevent marketing to children. The OLCC’s temporary rule clarifies “restrictions on product wording commonly associated with products marketed by or to children.” The OLCC reviewed around 500 strain names and found roughly 20 of them that could appeal to children. The OLCC will not approve labels that include strain names like Girl Scout Cookies, Candyland and Charlotte’s Web, among others. This means that breeders and growers have to change strain names on labels like Death Star, Skywalker and Jedi Kush because they contain a reference to the Star Wars franchise, which is marketed to children.

Oregon Marijuana Universal Symbol for Printing
Oregon Marijuana Universal Symbol for Printing

The new testing regulations establish requirements for testing cannabis products for THC and CBD concentrations, water activity, moisture content, pesticides and solvents in concentrates. They also stipulate that ORELAP-accredited laboratories must perform the testing. In the time leading up to the compliance deadline, many lacked confidence that ORELAP would accredit enough laboratories to meet the demand for testing. “We have heard from existing accredited labs that they can meet demand for cannabis product testing,” says Jonathan Modie, spokesman for the OHA. “We don’t yet know how much product requires testing, so we can’t speculate on whether labs will indeed be able to meet demand.” It is still unclear at this time if there are enough laboratories to perform all of the testing for cannabis products in the state.

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The universal symbol on a label of a cannabis product purchased after Oct. 1

At this time, 16 laboratories have been accredited for some form of testing, but only four labs have been accredited for pesticide testing. A list of the labs that ORELAP has accredited can be found here. Notably, only one lab is accredited for testing microbiological contaminants, such as E. coli. Testing for microbiological contaminants is not required for all cannabis products sold, rather it is only required upon written request by the OHA or OLCC.

The new labeling and packaging requirements concern testing, consumer education, childproofing and preventing marketing to minors. All cannabis products must contain a label that has been pre-approved by the OLCC. “Cannabis products have to be clearly labeled, showing that is has been tested, or if it has not been tested then it must display ‘does not meet new testing requirements’,” says Modie. “It [the label] must be clear, legible and readable, so they [the consumer] know exactly what it contains, including what cannabis product is inside the package, how much of it, how much THC, and where the product came from.”

According to Modie, it is particularly important that the packaging is not attractive to minors. Cartoons, designs and names that resemble non-cannabis products intended for, or marketed to children, should not be on the packaging or label. “Part of our education to the public and recreational cannabis users focuses on keeping these products out of reach of children in the first place, like storing cannabis in a locked area or an area where a child cannot reach or see,” says Modie. “Our goal is always to protect public health.”

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Comments

  1. Oregon Dave

    “Testing for microbiological contaminants is not required for all cannabis products sold, rather it is only required upon written request by the OHA or OLCC.”

    Are you sure? I think it is required. The statement would be true if it was regarding pesticides. All cannabis has to be tested for potency, mold, and microbiological contaminants. Only some of the cannabis batches has to be tested for pesticides, BUT, at any time, OLCC can request pesticides testing on all of the batches for whatever reason on all the items with notice. And that rule is temporary until March 1st. This is my understanding — am I incorrect?

    1. Aaron Biros Post author

      Hi Dave,

      Thank you for your comment and point of clarification. You’re not wrong with regard to your statement on pesticide testing. The OLCC temporary rules require “samples from at least one batch of every harvest lot are tested for pesticides” in addition to random sampling if the OLCC deems “insufficient laboratory capacity for the testing of pesticides.” And yes, that rule is temporary until March 1, 2017. (page 2, OAR 333-007-1000) http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram/Documents/rules/333-007-and-008-TEMP-rule-text-09-30-16.pdf

      As for the microbiological testing, I am referring to the permanent rule for cannabis testing OAR 333-007-0320 that was established in June, but since has not changed, where it reads: “A producer or grower must test a harvest lot of marijuana or usable marijuana for microbiological contaminants in accordance with OAR 333-007-0390, upon written request by the Authority or the Commission.” What I gather from this, is that a grower must test for microbiological contaminants upon written request, or in other words not regularly, but only when the OHA or OLCC asks. (page 5, OAR 333-007-0320)
      http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram/documents/rules/333-007-Cannabis-Testing.pdf

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