Penalties increase for marijuana retailers who sell to minors

SALEM, Ore. – After numerous Oregon marijuana retailers failed decoy compliance checks, state officials are upping the penalties for failed compliance.

The OLCC tests marijuana retailers throughout the year using a minor volunteer, supervised by OLCC inspectors. The volunteers use their own legal ID identifying them as under the age of 21. They are instructed to not lie about their age.

In the most recent check, four local retailers sold marijuana to the OLCC decoys. On average statewide, 25.8% of marijuana retailers were non-compliant.

The results were called “unacceptable” by Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC.

Following the results, the OLCC announced they’re stiffening penalties for retailers caught selling marijuana to minors. Previously, penalties consisted of a 10 to 30-day license suspension for a first-time offense. Now, a 30-day suspension is mandatory. Fines will also go up from $1,650 to $4,950.

Penalties for multiple violations are also increasing. Two violations in a two-year period would result in an automatic 30-day license suspension, according to the OLCC. Three violations within two years would result in license revocation.

“It’s our core mission at the OLCC to prevent the sale of marijuana to minors,” said Marks.

The temporary rules take effect January 26, 2018. During a 180-day period while the rules are in place, the OLCC will re-evaluate and consider making the rules permanent.

“There’s no margin for error on making sure that marijuana doesn’t get in the hands of minors – period,” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC Commission Chair. “The integrity of Oregon’s regulated system depends on industry compliance across the board.”

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