The Oregon Liquor Control Commission early Monday opened the state’s online application system for marijuana licenses.
The agency initially planned to staff a call center with staff and policy experts to take questions from people completing applications, but Sunday’s winter storm prompted the state to close its Portland office buildings Monday.
Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the commission, said state staff will not be on hand to take questions from applicants today.
Applicants may send questions to email@example.com or call 503-872-6366. Responds are likely to be delayed, the agency said.
“It is unfortunate that the severe weather is upon us the same day that we begin accepting license applications for recreational marijuana,” says Steve Marks, executive director of the liquor commission.
Hundreds are expected to apply for licenses to grow, process and sell marijuana in Oregon’s regulated market. Businesses that plan to produce edibles and concentrates, test for potency and pesticides, conduct research or operate as wholesalers also must obtain licenses from the state.
The liquor commission plans to process applications for labs and outdoor cannabis producers first. Officials want to ensure there are enough labs online to test for pesticides and potency before the retail market opens later this year.
Likewise, state officials want to give outdoor cannabis producers enough time to get their crop in the ground so the product can be ready for store shelves.
Monday’s launch of the online application system is a major milestone in the state’s schedule for implementing a regulated recreational marijuana program. The liquor control commission spent 2015 laying the groundwork for the industry, a process that involved drafting detailed rules for everything from security to the size of indoor and outdoor production facilities.
— Noelle Crombie