Expansion of Oregon Industrial Hemp Program Helps Recreational Processors

Starting this Friday, new rules will take effect for Oregon’s industrial Hemp Program. This rule change is the result of SB 1015, which was passed by the Oregon Legislature this summer.

Oregon law defines industrial hemp as “all nonseed parts and varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, whether growing or not, that contain a cropwide average tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis” (ORS 571.300). In other words, industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant (meaning it can’t get you “high”). Hemp is also one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world, and has been used for centuries to make a variety of products from heath foods, clothing, biofuel, and even concrete.

Unlike recreational cannabis, Oregon’s industrial hemp program is overseen by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The hemp program is currently comprised of two tiers (1) growing (producing), and (2) handling (processing hemp into various products). Up until now, only handlers licensed with with Oregon Department of Agriculture were able to process or sell hemp products.

Under the new rules, a hemp grower or handler can now deliver hemp to a processor licensed under the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), provided that the industrial hemp is tested and tracked in accordance with OLCC regulations. This in turn will allow OLCC licensed processors to produce a variety of CBD concentrates and extracts that will be eligible for transfer to OLCC licensed dispensaries. In addition, processors will be allowed to use industrial hemp to supplement the processing of any cannabis item.

Overall, the implementation of SB 1015 will help expand the scope of products an OLCC processor can make, while ensuring those products conform to the same rigid set of testing and tracking standards already in place by the OLCC. If you have questions about how these new rules affect your cannabis business, please feel free to contact our office at (503) 206-6401 to schedule a consultation or click here.