The Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) recently approved rules for regulating industrial hemp that enters into the OLCC regulated cannabis market, according to a press release from officials. According to the bulletin, the new industrial hemp rules were necessary to implement legislation passed last year.
Under the new rules, industrial hemp produced by farmers registered with the state Department of Agriculture (ODA) will have a pathway into the licensed adult-use cannabis market. OLCC licensees may now receive industrial hemp items from ODA-registered growers and handlers. However, hemp sold into the OLCC market will be required to be tracked in the state’s Cannabis Tracking System (CTS), just like cannabis plants and inventory.
As we have discussed often in our Premium Weekly Report, OLCC-licensed growers – especially outdoor farmers – are increasingly supplementing or replacing their cannabis crops with industrial hemp. However, whether the new rules will result in a noticeable influx of high-CBD industrial hemp plant material and products into the OLCC market remains to be seen.
Cultivators growing industrial hemp may choose to primarily sell their crops and associated products out-of-state, as many have been doing, especially if enforcement from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other U.S. authorities against such actions remains largely absent. In doing so, Oregon hemp farmers would avoid the regulatory burdens imposed upon them by the new rules, which went into effect March 1st. Additionally, in selling outside of Oregon, where cannabis and hemp plant material is plentiful, farmers will expose themselves to a wider range of buyers, potentially allowing them to secure higher prices for their crops.