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State approves first recreational cannabis grow licenses

Two of first eight operations are in Washington County.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has approved eight recreational marijuana producer licenses, the first licenses issued under Oregon’s legalized recreational marijuana system. Two of those are in Washington County.

Preston Greene (Yerba Buena) was approved for Tier 2, mixed cultivation; and Smokey Mountain Farm, LLC (Smokey Mountain Farm) has approval for Tier 1, outdoor cultivation, both in Washington County.

Tier 1 outdoor growers are allowed to have a plant canopy up to 20,000 square feet, and Tier 2 outdoor growers are allowed to have a plant canopy between 20,001 to 40,000 square feet. Mixed cultivation growers are allowed to have a combined indoor and outdoor canopy using a ratio so the total canopy does not exceed the tier designation.

“All applicants go through rigorous scrutiny before they’re even considered for a license,” said Rob Patridge, OLCC Chairman. “They undergo criminal background checks, must receive land use approval from local governments, and be trained to use the Cannabis Tracking System which is the key public safety component for the regulated recreational marijuana system.”

The applications of the licensees were reviewed by OLCC investigators and the location of their business – the licensed premises – was inspected by OLCC field inspectors to ensure the applicant met all state laws and regulations before their applications were presented to the Commission for approval.

The licensees can start operating legally after paying their annual license fee. The annual fee for Tier 1 growers is $3,750, and the annual fee for Tier 2 growers is $5,750. The annual license fee for labs, processors, wholesalers and retailers is $4,750.

“These licensees reflect the pioneering spirit Oregon is known for,” said Patridge. “They come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and possess the entrepreneurial spirit of this industry.”

The OLCC Commission will meet weekly through early June to approve license applications, at which time the commission plans to delegate authority to the OLCC Executive Director to approve licenses. During the next month the OLCC licensing effort will continue to focus on producers, especially outdoor growers.

The OLCC has received 910 applications and expects to receive between 1200 and 2000 applications during the 2016 calendar year. The agency expects to issue about 850 licenses in 2016.

“We’re going to continue to remain focused on creating a recreational marijuana system that ensures public safety, protects our children, and fosters a successful legal market for the recreational use of marijuana,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC.