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Backlog of Oregon Marijuana License Applications Could Take a Year to Process

The sheer volume of both license renewals and new applications received before the June 15 cut-off could take a year or more to process, the OLCC said in a statement on Thursday.

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 4:53 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 5:30 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — In June, state marijuana regulators with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) stopped accepting new recreational marijuana licenses so that they could catch up on a growing backlog.

"Even before then the number of applications we had to get through was significant. The surge of applications we received right before the pause took effect on June 15 just multiplied the numbers," said OLCC Executive Director Steven Marks in a statement on Thursday.

Now, according to the OLCC which oversees the licensing process, regulators are still so inundated with new applications and renewals for existing businesses that could take another year or more just to finish processing the ones that accumulated before the cut-off.

"In the second half of 2017, when we began renewing the licenses of existing licensees, we determined that the time it takes to complete a renewal is equivalent to about 80 percent of the time it takes to process a new license application," said Marks.

The OLCC has charged 11 of their investigators with handling 2017 and 2018 license renewals and updates—processing paperwork for just those marijuana businesses that are already up and running. Getting through that backlog alone will take about a year, according to Marks.

But getting to the pile of 2,210 new applications received by June 15 will take at least 12-14 months, and could take longer for those applications that were submitted just inside the deadline. Just two OLCC investigators are assigned to the new applications.

"We will prioritize processing retailer, wholesaler, and processor applications ahead of producer applications. Our logic is straightforward. These application types take less time to process than producer applications which are more complex, and there are fewer of them to get through," said Marks.

Marks claims that the slow going has everything to do with the "immature" state of the industry—with continuous, gradual changes coming from lawmakers,  individual marijuana businesses constantly rising, falling, or consolidating, and requests for additional regulatory staffing going slowly through the state bureaucratic machinery.

"The processing of applications may appear to be proceeding at a glacial pace but I can tell you our team is operating at capacity," said Marks.

The statement from Marks did not provide any clear idea of when the OLCC will consider accepting new applications again, or if they would re-open applications as soon as they finish with the current backlog.

"Our ability to innovate our way out of this backlog is limited, but we continue to look for ways to improve and streamline our work in the near term, while developing systematic long term plans," said Marks.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 175121

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34937568
Washington23491229
Marion20195299
Clackamas15386204
Lane11591144
Jackson9923127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes712972
Linn416063
Yamhill410175
Klamath349059
Polk344252
Malheur342858
Josephine306362
Douglas304765
Benton273218
Jefferson207032
Coos197531
Columbia154526
Union141624
Lincoln130220
Wasco129128
Hood River112529
Morrow107915
Clatsop8958
Crook88019
Baker85814
Curry5959
Tillamook5813
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3718210

Reported Deaths: 61038
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122899723653
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2947794555
San Diego2749603674
Orange2689624896
Santa Clara1170812013
Kern1078591322
Sacramento1011721646
Fresno1005621646
Alameda853671477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa67019782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41157560
San Francisco36032523
Santa Barbara33896446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29696311
Imperial27987719
Kings22774245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16260239
Santa Cruz15571204
Marin13861226
Yolo13580200
Shasta11677217
Butte11573196
El Dorado9719109
Napa966679
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598663
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada445775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362551
Humboldt358737
Lake340943
Glenn235725
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
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