We requested the help of our volunteers to attend the various Rules Advisory Committee meetings and report back with their notes. Another terrific volunteer, Joseph Vaught, has provided us with his notes from the August 14, 2015 Rules Advisory Committee Meeting.
Here are those notes in full:
Recreational Marijuana RAC Meeting
August 14, 2015
There was lots discussed this week, but all of the major points that were talked about are covered. Topics for discussions included: Sanctions, Application and Residency Requirements, and Security Plans.
- Sanctions for Retail, Production and Growers
- Initial Sanction Rules: Tiered Sanctions beginning with $1650 fine or 10 day suspension, then leading to a max $5000 fine and 30 day suspension, and finally serious offenses will be cancelation.
- Questions about penalty system:
- Should liquor sanction rules apply to marijuana?
- A 30 day suspension for a grower could mean losing six months of product
- How do you penalize retail vs growers vs production? Separate into dispensary sanction and farm sanction.
- Is a sanction to suspend a retailer too easy? ( as they can just hold the product for the time suspended)
- How to make sanctions fair for large companies and small local companies? Mom n Pops can be shut down with sanctions due to fines, larger companies can potentially take fines and suspensions.
- Applicant Licensee Qualifications, Rules, and Ownership:
- Initial Applicant Rules: Applicant must be 21 years or older, a resident of Oregon for at least 2 years, have at least 51% stake in the business, and list all investors (in state or out of state).
- All applicants and investors will have background checks done. Investors will have nationwide background check done as well.
- When doing background checks, minor offenses related to marijuana will not be considered in application process. Offenses such as felonies, and beyond, will be defining factors of applicant[s].
- Investors do not have to be residents of Oregon, but can only own a maximum of 49% of the company.
- Questions and doubts:
- How to deal with a crowdfunded business (mostly investors)?
- Why do you have to have a 51% stake to be an applicant? How to deal with those that want partnerships vs a corporate entity?
- How to keep Oregonians as majority business owners while still offering a healthy environment for investors?
- Fear that there is no competition between banks to lend at reasonable interest rates to marijuana based entrepreneurs. Fear of monopoly chasing away hopeful Oregon business owners.
- When should financial audits be done on investors?
- How to distinguish between 100% Oregonians starting a business themselves, 51% Oregonian 49% Investor, or Oregonian being paid by investors to “run” a business? What rules are going to be implemented to recognize differences?
- Fear of big money killing local business (ie WalMart, Big Ag, and most major retail stores)
- Why is it ok to accept out of state money but not portfolios? Will we have a monopoly of Oregon business owners by not accepting out of state portfolios?
- More specificity on the definition of what will be required of applicants and investors to participation in business ownership.
- How does the application process apply to family farms with children? How does it apply to having underage visitors? Do we consider it similar to a family vineyard? Do we compare it to a trip to the liquor store with parents?
- Possible OLCC mechanism to grandparent in Oregon marijuana businesses.
- Security of Retail/ Dispensaries:
- Those entering the premises will be carded no matter what.
- Walls can be removed between customer and product as long as ID Checks are consistent. Similar to liquor store ideology, but all product is out of reach.
- Those checking IDs do not have to be outside of the establishment during all business hours.
If you would like to see a specific copy of what points were covered in the session feel free to contact Amanda Borup at Amanda.Borup@oregon.gov and inquire about the August 14, 2015 RAC meeting.
We greatly appreciate Joseph helping to keep Portland NORML members apprised of the work of this committee! If you are interested in following a committee or locality and reporting back to us, please contact me at Jennifer@PortlandNORML.org