HB 4016 authorizes the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) and Oregon State Department of Agriculture (ODA) to unilaterally issue moratoriums on the issuance of new marijuana and hemp producer licenses. If this bill passes, the OLCC and ODA will INACTIVATE all marijuana producer and hemp grower applications received after January 1, 2022. Under the proposed marijuana moratorium, the OLCC will process applications for producer licenses received on or before January 1, 2022, if the application includes a valid land use compatibility statement. Applications that did not include a land use compatibility statement must submit a land use compatibility statement within 21 days of HB 4016 enactment (this is a short session, so if the bill passes you better hurry!) An application for a production license submitted on or before January 1, 2022, cannot change the location for which the application was submitted, and cannot change 51% or more of the ownership interest in the production facility listed in the application. On the surface, the marijuana producer moratorium appears to provide an opportunity for the issuance of new producer licenses, but this will not be the case if the bill passes as written. The OLCC has not accepted producer applications since June 15, 2018, and the previous producer moratorium expired on January 3 of this year; so it is unclear whether there are producer licenses in the agency application queue that were filed on or before January 1, 2022. The OLCC did, however, release a bulletin on November 8, 2021, announcing that the agency would no longer inactivate new producer applications beginning on January 2, 2022. OLCC officials also told many prospective production licensees that new applications filed after January 2 would be processed. It now appears the agency made those statements knowing that HB 4016 would establish a new January 1 cut off. Unless the legislature amends HB 4016 to provide some relief to the applicants who reasonably relied on OLCC’s statements, litigation will more than likely result.
Cannabis Law Report, 02/04/2022 02:34:00