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Want to Extract Cannabis in Oregon? You'll Need a License For That

It's safety first for cannabis extractors in Oregon's legal weed scene.

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For those that aren’t careful, the side effects from bad quality extracts can include chemical poisoning, brain and lung damage.

That's why the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) began instituting manufacturing licensing rules to minimize home extractions with butane, co2, and propane to create hash oil. 

The OHA’s original plan was that extract manufacturers would need to be licensed, and that any extracts sold from non-licensed manufacturers after October 1st would be considered illegal.

While these new restrictions were put in place to prevent unsafe hash from being sold and consumed to and by the public, the measures legally prevented extractors from working while simultaneously leaving the public without medicine.

Since the effect would be much too great to ignore, the policy was updated to grant applicants a grace period.  

In order to be a licensed manufacturer, extraction processors must meet specific requirements. Extractions must take place in an enclosed room that is spark proof and equipped with lower explosive limit detectors and evacuation fans.

To prevent malfunctions, processors must use commercially manufactured closed-loop extraction services that recover the solvent that’s used.

Additionally, the equipment and facility has to be approved for use by the local fire code official; meet all safety, building and fire codes, have an emergency eye-wash station in all rooms that process extracts, and have all applicable material safety data sheets available at all times.

Even though the application process didn’t begin until April 1, the policy started being enforced exactly a month prior; leaving companies like Elephant Extracts, who operate according to the OHA’s guidelines, without work.

“We were forced to close our lab for two weeks and counting, putting 12 people out of work,” Elephant Extracts’ Operations Manager, Nick Bradley, explains.

"The extract processors were hurt from the policy, but they weren’t the only people feeling the pain. “We had multiple stores return products to us because they were informed they could not even have products from unlicensed processors on the premises. So on top of the 12 people that are out of work, hundreds if not thousands of patients are forced to go without their meds,” he added.

The original plan to halt processing was reversed because of its effect on safe extract manufacturers, so now applicants can operate under a provisional license until their application gets approved. These temporary passes to produce hash are being granted to compliant companies that produce healthy material for consumption, but are currently legally prevented from doing so otherwise.

Even with the obstacles created by the OHA’s new guidelines, Bradley says that he still supports forcing processors to be licensed.

We are not opposed to regulations, we are all for them. We have gone through all the hoops to remain operational through all the changes,” he explains.

In order to assure that extracts are safe, it’s best to search out processors that are applying to be licensed, since they are already complying with the regulations. Although it’s hard to tell if your oil is healthy just by looking at it, researching the source is a recommended way to protect yourself.

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