Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Oregon’s Cannabis Lab Agency On ‘Verge Of Collapse’

Oregonians hoping to buy legal marijuana at a retail store for the first time next month may face empty shelves and limited supply.  A bureaucratic snafu in Oregon’s cannabis-testing lab accreditation program threatens to make the state’s Oct. 1 legal launch day a  difficult one.

Gary Ward, administrator of the state program ensuring that cannabis labs are up to code, claims the Oregon Health Authority has ignored his request for more resources and that his agency is “on the verge of collapse.”

“We are on the precipice of collapse of environmental, drinking water and cannabis accreditation because of the lack of resources and the last-minute rush of cannabis labs with applications,” Ward, the man in charge of  Oregon’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program wrote The Fresh Toast in an e-mail.

ORELAP, which also is responsible for testing drinking water, was promised that it would receive adequate resources from the Oregon Health Authority to do cannabis testing accreditation, but “so far we have received zero” support from the health authority, according to Ward’s email.

Of the nearly 40 labs applying for accreditation, only four have been given approval. Less than 20 are expected to be given the green light before Oct. 1.

Oregon is the just the latest state to struggle with regulatory hurdles after voting in favor of legalization. Its northern neighbor Washington also suffered supply issues when recreational retail stores opened their doors in 2014.

Oregon has planned more of a “rolling opening,” meaning that the state will deliberately ease into legalization from October through December; the program is expected to be fully developed by January.

For more on the story, see Noelle Crombie’s account in The Oregonian.




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