The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (“OLCC”) is tasked with regulating medical and recreational cannabis in Oregon and this includes commencing administrative enforcement proceedings against licensees found in violation of one or more rules. The OLCC may seek sanctions against licensees ranging from a monetary penalty and/or a period of suspension to license cancellation. We sat on the last rulemaking committee and advised the OLCC on this issue, which resulted in some significant changes to the process and associated penalties. We also regularly represent OLCC licensees who find themselves in trouble with the OLCC and we often negotiate favorable settlements on behalf of our clients. It has been some time since we’ve written on this topic and so a refresher on the process is in order—particularly in light of new rules that focus on Licensing and Security issues.
As every OLCC licensee knows, the rules are complex and change frequently and marijuana businesses should establish a comprehensive compliance plan. (See posts on that here, here, here, and here). When the OLCC determines a cannabis business or its employee has violated a rule, it issues what is known as a “charging document.” The charging document will list what rule has been