On Monday, August 30, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) released proposed updates to its hemp regulations. If you follow this blog, you may recall that in July Oregon enacted HB 3000, an omnibus bill covering a wide range of hemp-related issues. One of the new law’s provisions authorizes ODA to update its existing rules to meet the 2018 Farm Bill requirements, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s hemp production final rule, and to submit a state plan for the USDA’s review before the end of the year.
If adopted in their current version, the proposed regulations would:
Replace all references to registration/registrant with license/licensee.
Impose additional requirements to the grower application to align with the requirements imposed under the USDA hemp production final rule and ensure compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill. The new requirements include background checks for growers and all “key participants.” Key participants are officers as well as owners and persons with a financial interest of 20 percent or more in the business entity applying for a license.
Clarify the ODA’s inspection authority, such as the agency’s ability to require an inspection of the grow site in its sole discretion prior to registration.
Streamline the application process in several ways, such as setting a May 31st application deadline and allowing the ODA to reject substantially incomplete applications.
Simplify the renewal process by reducing renewal application requirements.
Clarify denial reasons, including certain grower felony convictions and material falsifications.
Update the transportation requirements to now include a copy of the invoice of bill of lading that provides the originating location and destination and contact information of the plant’s buyer and seller.
Change pre-harvest sampling requirements, which would increase the period to obtain sampling from 28 to 30 days and change failed test to depend on the measurement of uncertainty reported by laboratories.
Expressly state that licensees are responsible for all activities on their licensed site/facility.
Explain when the ODA must revoke a license, such as in the event the LUCS submitted with a grower application states that the proposed land use is prohibited in the applicable zone.
Disallow research sites on a general grow site.
Prohibit hemp grow sites from being co-located with medical marijuana grow sites or recreational marijuana site.
Create corrective action plan requirements.
Update and clarify detainment requirements. For example, the proposed rules give a person subject to a detainment, seizure, embargo, or disposal order the option to submit a written request to harvest, move, or take other action to preserve the harvest lot or hemp item pending an administrative proceeding challenging the proprietary of the order.
Update violations, to include a $10,000 civil penalty for preharvest test results over 10% total THC. The current rules only provide for three categories of violations with lesser financial penalties: a $2,500 Class 1 violation, a $1,000 Class 2 violation, and a $500 Class 3 violation.
Stakeholders have until 5 PM on October 22 to submit their written comments to these proposed rules to the ODA’s rule coordinator, Alex Thomas. The ODA will also hold a hearing later this month – Tuesday, September 28 – to go over the rules. If approved, these rules will be effective for the 2022 license year (January 1 – December 31, 2022). For more information on these new proposed rules, you can visit the ODA’s Hemp Laws and Rules webpage.