OLCC implements marijuana licensing moratorium legislation passed by lawmakers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon’s marijuana market has experienced exponential growth, which has led to a crowded marketplace. In response to this reality, the 2022 Oregon Legislature passed legislation requiring the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission to cease issuing marijuana licenses to applicants who submitted an application after Jan. 1.

“We see both sides of this issue,” stated Commissioner Matt Maletis. “There’s people that are very happy, and there’s people that are very unhappy, but the Legislature made a decision. We’ve always had a unique system in Oregon. There’s no easy way to do this.”

At its regularly scheduled Commission meeting on Thursday, commissioners also received an update from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Industry and heard from Oregon’s independently-owned liquor stores on the strengths of Oregon’s liquor market. The Commissioners also approved stipulated settlement agreements, initiated rulemaking in response to 2022 legislation and appointed two new agents to operate small business liquor stores in Creswell and Hillsboro-Aloha.

In the face of inflation and labor shortages, the Oregon hospitality industry foresees growth as bars and restaurants continue to staff up and explore efficiencies to streamline their operations. Oregon’s independently-owned liquor store operators echoed this sentiment by presenting their own experiences and discussed the future of the liquor industry.

Along with the marijuana license moratorium, Oregon’s 2022 Legislature enacted several bills requiring OLCC to work with the industry to develop rules to address various changes to OLCC policies.

Commissioners voted to enter rulemaking to address the alterations to the bottle bill, requirements for reporting human and sex trafficking in the marijuana industry, and requirements to develop a marijuana license reassignment program for surrendered licenses. OLCC staff will hold public meetings to gain input from the respective industries this summer.

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