October 1 was a very big day for marijuana consumers and dispensaries in Oregon. October 1 was the first day that dispensaries were allowed to start limited recreational marijuana sales. Many dispensaries held parties to celebrate, and some did promotions. That led to at least one dispensaries receiving a fine due to a ban on promotional giveaways. Per Oregon Live:
The state has fined a Portland marijuana dispensary $2,500 for allowing a vendor to give away marijuana concentrates and pre-rolled joints in the parking lot on the opening day of recreational marijuana sales, according to a stipulated settlement order.
The order states that Cannacea, located in Northeast Portland, allowed the giveaway of marijuana products in its parking lot and failed to check the identification of people receiving the products to ensure they were 21 or older or that they were medical marijuana patients.
The document also states the products being given away lacked proper labeling and were not in child-resistant packages.
The case represents the first disciplinary action against a dispensary since early recreational sales began Oct. 1.
Giving away marijuana in any form for no consideration between two private parties (both over 21) is perfectly legal in Oregon. If it's done on dispensary property without the dispensary's knowledge or blessing it's still legal in my opinion. However, when a dispensary knows that it's occurring, and doesn't do anything to stop it or even endorses it, that's where trouble starts. I wasn't there, so I don't know what exactly happened, I only know what I read in media reports and on social media, so I'm reserving any judgment either way. What I will say is that I see promotional giveaways all the time for dispensaries in Oregon, so if that continues to happen, I have to assume that we will see more fines being handed out, for better or worse.
Cannacea issued the following press release to explain what happened that day from their perspective:
Portland Oregon, October 21, 2015 - In response to an article on OregonLive, Cannacea, a leading supplier of quality medicinal Cannabis in the greater Portland area, is releasing this statement in an effort to clarify any misconceptions about the company that may have resulted from the Oregonian article.
Cannacea in no way intended to violate any laws or regulations what-so-ever. The company had originally intended to give back to our community by participating in a drawing that would allow one individual to be given vouchers that could be used in our store to purchase cannabis, and by gifting medication to those in need, such as Veterans with PTSD or other disabilities, OMMP patients who are critically ill and have trouble affording the proper medications that help treat their condition or improve their quality of life, etc. This practice falls in line with programs Cannacea offers, or intends to offer to the Oregon community as a whole, including OMMP patient discounts, charitable programs for Veterans, and low cost CBD (a highly effective, but non-psychoactive cannabinoid produced by rarer cannabis strains). Tisha Siler, Cannacea CEO and PRF commented, "Cannacea (and all other Oregon Dispensaries) were contacted by the OHA before the opening and informed that cannabis could not be given away as a prize or used in a raffle, and that concentrates, or any product other than flowers, was not allowed to be distributed to recreational consumers". "On October 1, 2015, during our grand opening, OHA inspectors inquired about the events of the day, stating that a complaint from the media initiated an investigation into any possible violations of the rules governing giveaways. Cannacea responded to the OHA's inquiry stating that the give-away was actually sponsored by a non-profit, not Cannacea itself. We had no intent to give away flowers, but instead participate by way of offering vouchers that could be used in our store over a period of a year. Even though our attorney advised us that this was indeed legally permissible, Cannacea elected to address the crowd immediately before opening our doors, informing them of the situation and position of the OHA. We let the attendees know that although we could not and would not proceed against the wishes of the OHA, we would honor our word to the community supporting us by giving the equivalent in a cash prize instead. I am proud to say that we indeed followed through on this commitment, and to our absolute delight, the recipient of this cash reward was a family living in their car with their child. They were able to find a place to stay using the money they had won, and we are eternally grateful and joyous to have had the opportunity to have such an impact in the lives of the community that supports us!"
"Upon arrival of the OHA representatives, Cannacea fully cooperated with investigators, who diligently went through our security camera footage, and informed us of the situation reported to be occurring on premises. Upon gaining knowledge of this, we immediately shut down all vendor booths in our parking lot. The particular vendor against who the violation was cited was brought in by our staff to speak with the OHA representatives directly. At this time, the vendor claimed a 'misunderstanding of the law' to the representatives, and also informed the representatives that Cannacea HAD INDEED TOLD THEM THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE ANY PRODUCT AWAY WHILE ON OUR PREMISES. This very fact, along with a long and diligent viewing of our security video, is likely why the OHA did not elect to remove our ability to provide recreational cannabis, and instead elected to give us a fine. If you look at section 8. of the settlement agreement, it states that: 'a PRF is accountable for any intentional or unintentional acts of its owners, officers, managers, employees, or agents, with or without the knowledge of the PRF, who violate ORS 475.314 or these rules. Having invited vendors on dispensary property, I was personally responsible for ensuring vendors complied with the law." Our staff were checking IDs, and as an extra measure, required wristbands be placed on each customer to separate recreational consumers from OMMP patients visually. Cannacea had NO INTENTION of any recreational consumers gaining access to any product other than the flowers allowed by law."
"Our company fully respects and supports all Oregon laws, cannabis industry regulations, and regulators. It is our desire to meet or exceed all compliance standards at all times, to provide a safe and respectable facility, a high standard of service, as well as proving to be a beneficial asset to the Oregon community as a whole. We are grateful this occurrence was brought to our attention, and that we have the opportunity to install better measures
to both protect the community and help forward the cannabis industry within Oregon".
Cannacea is a leading manufacturer and supplier of premium medicinal Cannabis
products and is headquartered in Portland Oregon.