Temporary Ban on Added Flavors and Non-Cannabis Terpenes in Cannabis Vape Products Effective October 15th
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) adopted a temporary administrative rule banning the manufacture and sales of marijuana vaping products that contain added flavors and non-marijuana terpenes. This includes online sales. The ban is effective Tuesday, October 15, with end date of April 11, 2020. They could end it sooner.
Starting tomorrow, Saturday October 12th, OLCC will call all retailers and processors to inform them of ban. The OLCC will also publish and send out a compliance bulletin. They will also send out their inspectors starting Tuesday, October 15th.
Ban is on the addition of all flavors and non-marijuana terpenes being added to marijuana products. Any added terpenes must come from OLCC regulated marijuana.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will require signage in all retailers informing consumers of the health risks, the ban and resources for helping people to quit vaping.
Violation of the ban is a Category One violation, which is the most severe. Violations could result in the emergency suspension and ultimate termination of an OLCC License.
The OLCC will create and adopt a rule creating a procedure where processors can request an exemption from the ban for botanically derived terpenes. The work group they are creating will help develop that. The OLCC states they will create that process by November 15, 2019. While those rules haven’t been developed yet, the OLCC states that the exemption rules will most likely require any added substance to be tested at the same level as marijuana, marijuana concentrates, and extracts are currently tested.
Our office can help licensees understand the exemption rules when they are published and help licensees apply for an exemption.
Several employees of the OLCC and OHA testified as to the reasons for the ban.
- The manufacturers of the flavors and non-marijuana terpenes are unregulated. (As opposed to the OLCC producers and processors)
- The manufacturers of the flavors and non-marijuana terpenes do not always state what is in their products. “trade secrets.”
- While some manufacturers of the flavors and non-marijuana terpenes have their processes for making their products regulated through programs such as ISO and GRAS, the end products are not regulated.
- And, what the OHA and OLCC said was the biggest reason for the ban, was that the flavors and non-marijuana terpenes are added at end of manufacturing process by OLCC processors, and the end product is only tested for potency, not solvents and other potential contaminants.
The OLCC also stated that five of nine people who became ill from vaping in Oregon bought products from OLCC retailers, which is alarming to them.
The OLCC also testified that many of the material data sheets for the flavors and non-marijuana terpenes state right on them “do not vape” or “do not inhale.”
The OLCC will post FAQs on their website to help consumers to determine if their vape product is safe or not.
The OLCC said the flavor ban is just the latest step in its evolution from focusing on public safety to an agency with an equivalent focus on consumer protection. Through increased review of products sold in the OLCC-licensed retail market and the development of testing capacity, the OLCC will continue to work to refine consumer product disclosure.
“This Commission is working very hard to ensure the cannabis industry can grow, thrive and compete in the Oregon marketplace,” said Paul Rosenbaum, chair of the OLCC. “We are doing so with a clear focus on the integrity of the marketplace for businesses, consumers and public safety. However, it is our overwhelming responsibility to protect public health and our consumers from undue risk. This agency’s rapid and nimble action to implement the Governor’s executive order is exactly why regulated cannabis will always be a superior consumer choice over illegal markets.”
The OLCC states that in addition to this ban, they will look at other additives which are currently allowed in marijuana products. Some of the currently allowed additives have the potential to cause serious illnesses as well. This is part of the OLCC’s shift to towards a more consumer protection agency.
We at Loney Law Group, will be paying close attention to the implementation of this rule and the actions of the OLCC and the OHA. If you require any advice or help, please contact us for an appointment.added flavors, administrative rules, cannabis, Emergency ban, OHA, OLCC, Oregon, processor, Public Health, retailer, Terpenes, testing, Vape, Vaping, Vitamin E