The Oregon agency tasked with monitoring underage sales of cannabis gave the state’s retailers a perfect 100 percent compliance score following February’s undercover sting investigation.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) randomly sends minors into marijuana stores to try to purchase products. Last month’s operations targeted stores in Portland, Bend and Salem, all of which passed the test with a perfect score. Yes, regulation keeps cannabis out of the hands of minors.
“The OLCC performs marijuana sales checks in an effort to reduce access to marijuana by minors,” according to a press release from the agency. “During the sales checks, a minor volunteer attempts to purchase marijuana from a licensed business to see if staff are checking ID’s correctly and refusing to sell marijuana to anyone under 21.”
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During the first test in January, 19 percent of the decoys managed to buy marijuana. “These overall results are unacceptable. This is a wake-up call to our licensed retailers. Oregonians have entrusted you with a responsibility that includes NOT selling marijuana to minors,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC, at the time.
According to Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the OLCC, the initial results suggested to regulators that the penalties for selling to minors — a 10-day license suspension or a $1,650 fine for first-time offenders — were too low. The penalties have since been increased to a 30-day license suspension or a $4,950 fine for a first offense.
“The industry has taken heed, and they’re doing a much better job of checking identifications to make sure that they’re not letting people who are under the age of 21 into their businesses and allowing them to purchase marijuana,” Pettinger said.
The compliance rate for alcohol sales to minors is much worse than cannabis. The compliance rate for those bars and liquor 78 percent statewide. The OLCC says booze-related stings are more difficult to manage because of the large number of outlets.