Coronavirus and Cannabis: Oregon Regulatory Updates

By Sally Kent Peebles

Mar 22, 2020

This VS Insight is dedicated to updates regarding the coronavirus and cannabis in Oregon. For updates on other states or coronavirus-related issues, see our main post on the subject, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Monitoring the Impact."

Cannabis regulations are in flux across the U.S. as officials at every level of government work to contain the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Vicente Sederberg is closely monitoring the situation, and we are communicating with regulators to understand how these local, state and federal responses may affect cannabis business operators, medical patients, and other cannabis consumers. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our clients and the public updated as we learn of new developments, but please note this is an extremely fluid situation and there is a lot we do not know. This VS Insights post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. We strongly encourage you to contact an attorney if you are seeking advice regarding any specific legal or tax issue.


LATEST UPDATES

April 1, 2020

Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-13 which requires individuals to stay at home, to the greatest extent possible, and also orders a temporary moratorium on terminations of residential and non-residential rental agreements and evictions on the basis of nonpayment.

March 24, 2020

March 23, 2020

March 22, 2020

  • The OLCC approved a temporary rule that supports social distancing to promote the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, by allowing licensed marijuana retailers to conduct limited transactions outside their licensed premises. The action will permit retail licensees to remain open, and at their option, may take orders and deliver products from the retail store to a person who is outside of the store and within 150 feet of the retailer’s licensed premises. The temporary rule also increases the amount of flower that OMMP cardholders and caregivers can purchase to 24 ounces per day and no more than 32 ounces per month. Read the full news release here.

March 20, 2020

  • Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has not issued any specific guidance related to medical marijuana treatment center dispensary restrictions or potential closures. The Oregon Health Authority website provides updated information including the Governor’s Executive Orders and statistics related to Oregon’s confirmed cases.

March 18, 2020

  • Oregon Cannabis Association, in association with Americans for Safe Access, wrote a letter to Governor Brown asking her to

    • Make sure that cannabis businesses are considered “essential” businesses and therefore permitted to stay open;

    • Instruct cannabis businesses on how they can make legal temporary changes to their business plans, including adding delivery and increased purchase limits;

    • Give tax relief to cannabis customers;

    • Allow cultivation, wholesale and processing centers to stay open;

    • Temporarily allow increased purchase limits, curbside delivery and delivery to those patients and customers whose residential address is not the same as their identification card.

  • OLCC announced on its Business Continuity Information webpage that in order to support the cannabis industry, employees may work for an OLCC recreational marijuana licensed business if they meet one of the following conditions:

    • Have an approved and active marijuana worker permit;

    • Have taken the marijuana worker permit test and submitted their marijuana worker permit application in the NIC/OLCC system.

  • OLCC created a COVID-19 Business Continuity Information webpage on the OLCC website. This webpage intends to provide up-to-date announcements affecting both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana business operations in Oregon.

March 17, 2020

  • Governor Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-07 prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink and gatherings of more than 25 people including restaurants, bars, taverns, brewpubs, wine bars, cafes, food courts, coffee shops, clubs or other “similar establishments.” Restaurants may keep their kitchens open for take-out, drive-through, drive-in, and delivery, as long as they keep social distancing protocols of at least 3 feet applicable to staff and patrons. This prohibition does not apply to health care facilities, childcare facilities, workplaces, essential government buildings, essential emergency response facilities, essential school-based food programs, and essential shelter and meal programs serving vulnerable populations (Essential Services Establishments). These Essential Services Establishments are encouraged to use social distancing, staggered schedules, take-out and other similar protective measures.  

    • Executive Order No. 20-07 also prohibits gatherings of 25 people or more at social, spiritual, and recreational gatherings.

March 12, 2020

  • Governor Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-05, prohibiting large gatherings of 250 people or more due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The prohibition does not apply to school attendance, places of employment, grocery stores, or retail stores.

March 8, 2020

  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-03, declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon. The Order directs the Oregon Health Authority to take all actions necessary and authorized to respond to, control, mitigate, and recover from the emergency, including, creating more COVID-19 testing sites, deploying emergency volunteer healthcare professionals, and expanding telemedicine.