Portland, OR -- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission conducted recreational marijuana minor decoy operations across Oregon during January 2018, and in many areas of the state licensed marijuana retailers did not sell marijuana products to minors.
The statewide compliance rate in January 2018 was 89 percent. During minor decoy operations in December 2017, the statewide compliance rate was 81 percent.
“These results show an improvement, but there is no tolerance for marijuana sales to anyone under 21 years old,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “We’ve increased the penalties for retailers that sell to minors, so our expectation is for the industry to be vigilant about compliance.”
OLCC inspectors working with minor decoys carried out operations in the following regions:
- On January 17, 2018, in the cities of Salem, Independence, Monmouth, McMinnville, Newberg and Dundee, marijuana inspectors visited 26 licensed marijuana retailers, and two (2) failed a check for prohibiting sales to a minor volunteer. Compliance rate: 92%
- On January 18, 2018, in Portland, marijuana inspectors visited ten (10) licensed marijuana retailers, and four (4) failed a check for prohibiting sales to a minor volunteer. Compliance rate: 60%
- On January 19, 2018, in the Eugene-Springfield area, marijuana inspectors visited 16 licensed marijuana retailers, and two (2) failed a check for prohibiting sales to a minor volunteer. Compliance rate: 88%
- On January 24, 2017, in Pendleton and The Dalles [Bend region], marijuana inspectors visited eight (8) licensed marijuana retailers, and none (0) failed a check for prohibiting sales to a minor volunteer. Compliance rate: 100%
- On January 26, 2018, in Josephine County [Medford region], marijuana inspectors visited 10 licensed marijuana retailers, and none (0) failed a check for prohibiting sales to a minor volunteer. Compliance rate: 100%
In January 2018 the OLCC stiffened the penalty for the first time sale of marijuana to a minor to a 30-day license suspension or a fine of $4,950. The temporary rule that increased the penalty took effect January 26, 2018.
Selling marijuana to a minor is an OLCC Category II (b) Recreational Marijuana Sanction (OAR 845-025-8590). The penalties for multiple violations will also increase. Two violations in a two-year period would result in an automatic 30-day license suspension; three violations in a two-year period would result in a license revocation.
The OLCC conducts the decoy operations to make sure marijuana licensees are complying with state laws and OLCC regulations to keep minors from entering licensed retail businesses to purchase marijuana products.
During the sales checks, a minor volunteer attempts to enter a licensed marijuana retailer and/or purchase marijuana products from a licensed business to see if staff are checking ID’s correctly and refusing entry to anyone under 21. Commission inspectors supervise the minor volunteers. The volunteers carry their own legal ID that identifies them as under 21 and do not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of marijuana. The Oregon Driver license for a minor carries a red border around the picture with the words “Under 21 until” followed by the date of his/her 21st birthday.
The OLCC tests licensed marijuana businesses throughout the year, with each licensed retailer receiving a minimum of one visit per year.