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Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association

  • 23 Jul 2018 8:23 PM | Jesse Bontecou (Administrator)

    ORCA July 2018 Newsletter

    Good morning, and we hope this month's newsletter finds everyone well and that this heat wave is heating things up appropriately at the retail level.  We're hearing from a lot of our members that the sunny weather has led to a robust increase in traffic, and we hope that continues through the summer.

    It's been a precarious time for those of us tracking the inner workings of government, particularly on the federal side.  That's been one of the biggest areas taking up our bandwidth, so we wanted to take some time to share with folks what's going on, what we've been doing to help, and what we've got coming up in the weeks and months ahead - and more importantly, how you can get involved in our efforts!

    State, Federal, and International Updates

    Federal Policy Updates 

    The ORCA team headed to Washington D.C. at the end of May to participate in NCIA's National Lobby Days. We had some very productive meetings with friends and foes alike and as always meet with Oregon's terrific Congressional delegation - not counting Rep. Greg Walden, who still needs work before he comes around. Importantly, we communicated to Rep. BlumenauerRep. DefazioSen. Wyden, and Sen. Merkley'soffices how crucially important exporting cannabis nationally and internationally will be to the success of Oregon's legal cannabis industry.

    Of course, we also advocated in our meetings for 280E reform, banking reform, criminal justice reform, and legal protections from the DOJ for both the medical and recreational market.  Fortunately, progress is not just happening in the polls - more good things are unfolding with federal policy.  Below is a quick rundown of some of what is happening.

    1) Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States (STATES) Act - This new bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in the House. NCIA is actively working to add cosponsors at this very moment.  If this bill were to pass, it would address most of the issues facing both the cannabis and hemp industry, including 280E and banking restrictions.

    What it does is exempt state-legal cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act so its provisions no longer apply to a person acting in compliance with state laws. In addition, it excludes hemp from the federal definition of cannabis - removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.

    This bill is getting a lot of attention because it is in a better position for passage (though still not great) than any other major cannabis bill that has been introduced. Sen. Warren has reported that Sen. McConnell has promised to allow a floor vote and Pres. Trump said "I support Sen. Gardner. I know exactly what he is doing. We're looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that. Yes." 

    To learn more about the bill, click the link above and feel free to call your Congressperson to tell them about your support for this bill -- especially if you live in Rep. Walden's District (and if you're not sure, ask us!)

    2) 2018 Farm Bill - Speaking of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) he successfully introduced hemp legalization into the farm bill that passed out of Senate. Now it just has to survive the House - their Farm Bill did not have hemp language. This is probably the bill most likely to pass in 2018.

    3) Senate and House Committee Appropriations Bills  - Both committees passed appropriation bills that include provisions which prevent the DOJ from using any resources to target medical cannabis patients or providers who are in compliance with state laws. While this is good news, it is just a continuation of current policy. Unfortunately, efforts to extend these protections to recreational cannabis failed, as did efforts to include protections for banks working with the legal cannabis businesses. But we (and our national counterparts) are not giving up, and will continue this fight.

    4) The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced the bill he announced on 4/20.  Similar to the STATES Act, it removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act -essentially decriminalizing cannabis federally and allowing states to set their own policies.  It also provides funds to help expunge cannabis convictions and support Cannabis businesses owned by women, people of color, and other historically marginalized populations.

    All in all, this is a really strong indicator that the winds are moving in our direction.  It is typical to see many different variants of a bill or a concept when an issue is on the verge of passing into law.  In this sense, we have made tremendous strides - and victory against the forces of federal cannabis prohibition is definitely on the horizon.

    International Update

    The United States is far from the only game in town right now when it comes to changes in national cannabis policies around the world. Canada, of course, is on its way to full legalization in October.  Uruguay has been there for years already.  Now the question is, is Mexico going to legalize cannabis too? The new President has indicated he is open to legalization and his pick for Interior Secretary has made her intentions clear, stating that she would “seek the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use." Also, Vincente Fox, Mexico's former President has joined the board of High Times

    Across the pond, legalization is making progress too. Polling in France now shows that "51 percent of French people favor the legalization of cannabis." 

    States Update

    Oregon Update - The ORCA team has our heads buried in statutes and rules as we work on our 2019 legislative priorities. These include but aren't limited to interstate compacts for export, public consumption spaces, automatic expunction of criminal records, and fixing B2B sampling and transportation issues.  We are also prepping for our July 30th Members Meeting with Sen. Lew Frederick, (Members -- don't forget to RSVP!!).   

    In OLCC news, 1001 NEW applications for licenses were submitted between the announcement in May of a licensing 'pause' and the June 15th 'deadline'.  The sheer number of applications is clear evidence of how essential legal export is to the success of the Oregon industry.  It also increases the importance of ORCA's work in the 2019 legislative session, as we have to make sure that the 'pause' doesn't turn into legislation that is damaging to existing businesses or certain areas of the state.

    If you want to help ensure that Oregon has the best cannabis policy in the country, join ORCA now and adding your voice to the fights that lie ahead. You will not only strengthen our voice in the legislature but also get great benefits like event discounts and weekly wholesale flower reports - Join Today!

    California - Efforts to create a banking solution in California are rolling ahead. Senate Bill 930 was successfully passed out of the CA Senate in May. At the end of June passed out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.  It must pass at least one more committee before going to the Assembly for a floor vote. If passed the bill would allow for banks and credit unions overseen by the Department of Business Oversight to issue checks "that could be used to pay state or local fees and taxes, rent or cost of goods including cannabis goods, or to buy state or local bonds or warrants." Read more about it at the link above.

    Massachusetts - Speaking of banking according to the Boston Business Journal (subscription required) the only bank serving the industry in Massachusetts is charging $5000.00 a month (!!) for a checking account. 

    Oklahoma - OK became the 30th medical marijuana state on June 26th. Voters in the state passed its liberal medical marijuana measure with a 13.7% margin of victory (56.86% to 43.1%).  However, this month the OK Board of Health issued emergency rules that banned smokeable cannabisfrom sale by dispensaries.  This action has led to the filing of two lawsuits to undo these rules.  Additionally, the folks behind a ballot measure that would legalize recreational cannabis announced they almost have enough signatures to get the measure onto Oklahoma's November ballot.

    New York - This month the New York Department of Health issued a 75-page report supporting cannabis legalization and NY Gov. Cuomo seems to be moving towards support for broader reform as well.

    New Jersey - NJ may become the next state to legalize recreational cannabis through the legislature as both the Governor and the Senate President support it. Legalization efforts, however, have stalled in the legislature because of conflicts over the state budget. That said, they're also worried about a supply problem if they go legal too quickly. If only there was a state with excess cannabis that could be legally exported...

    Fun With Polling: 

    As proven by Oklahoma's results, national support for cannabis legalization continues to grow and grow and grow like a weed. Just since January, support has increased by 10% now, and over two-thirds (68%) of Americans support legalization -- including 57% of Republicans. The legalization train has definitely left the station and is not likely to go back.

    The level of support is so strong, we now have clear majority support in both conservative and liberal states across the country: 53% In Texas(84% for medical), 59% in New Jersey55% in Georgia, and 63% in NY.


    There's a ton of events coming up throughout the summer where ORCA will have a strong presence, and we'd love to see you there if you're able.


    • July 25-27 - NCIA's Cannabis Business Summit & EXPO - San Jose, CA
    • July 30th - ORCA Member Meeting - Portland, OR
    • August 4-5 - INDO EXPO - Portland, OR
    • August 27-29 - Cannabis Science Conference - Portland, OR
    • September 27-28 - International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) - Portland, OR
    • October 10-11 - The RAD (Retailer & Dispensary) EXPO - Portland, OR

    July ORCA Member Meeting w/ Sen. Lew Frederick - Portland, OR July 30th

    ORCA next great members meeting is just a couple weeks away.  We will get to host one of Oregon's leading policymakers, State Senator Lew FrederickRSVP Today,(Members and invited guests only).

    July 2018 ORCA Meeting - Portland
    Monday, July 30th, 6:30-8:30 pm
    @ Cultiva Law
    222 NW Davis St, Suite 420, Portland, OR 97209

    Not a member yet? Join Today

    Check-in: 6:00-6:30pm
    Meeting begins: 6:30pm
    Agenda commences: 7:00pm
    Social Hour: 7:30pm - 8:30pm

    Sen. Frederick has been a presence in the Oregon legislature for years.  He hasn't had to deal with many cannabis-related policy issues in the past, which makes it all that much more important that we show up in full force to speak our minds and educate our lawmakers about what needs to be the focus of their efforts in Salem.

    NCIA's Cannabis Business Summit & EXPO - San Jose, CA July 25-17th.

    This great event is one of the industries largest and most influential cannabis event of the year and is 90% SOLD OUT! So if you are looking for a reason to head down to California this is it - Register Today. NCIA is extending a 15% discount to anyone who is not an NCIA Member (Code "AAP15") and tickets are just $150 for all Dispensary owners, Cultivators, and Infused Product Manufacturers.

    The Cannabis Business Summit & Expo is NCIA's largest industry gathering with more than 7,000 of the industry's leaders, entrepreneurs, and newcomers coming together.

    INDO EXPO Portland, OR August 4-5, 2018

    One of our great members the INDO EXPO trade show is thrilled to be returning to Portland for its pre-harvest show August 4th-5th. The best part, industry professionals get a FREE 2-Day Pass that includes ALL Exhibits, Demonstration, and Seminars if you register early.  If you want a booth the INDO EXPO is giving ORCA members a great discount for exhibitor booths.

    INDO EXPO is a literal a "grapevine" for the Industry, with leading experts in every vertical in attendance. It will feature 300+ exhibitors, 5000+ attendees, and the Industrial Hemp Pavilion so don't miss out.:


    Booth Discount: Indo Expo is giving ORCA members a great discount for exhibitor booths. Just email Jesse Bontecou for details and get your discount code -

    Cannabis Science Conference - Portland, OR August 27-29

    The Cannabis Science Conference is the world's largest and most technical cannabis event and is coming back to Oregon Convention center in Portland, OR Aug. 27-29. 

    It pulls together cannabis industry experts, instrument manufacturers, testing labs, research scientists, medical practitioners, policy makers and interested novices. Most importantly they are giving a 25% discount to ORCA Members for Full-Access registration (Use Code "CSC25").

    The Cannabis Science Conference is dedicated to improving cannabis science and bringing the latest technology to the industry and its customers. Register Today!

    Don't forget the 25% off Full-Access registration for ORCA Members (Code "CSC25"). This discount is not applicable to the 2018 Canna Boot Camp.

    The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) - Portland, OR September 27-28

    The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) is coming to Portland, Oregon Sept. 27-28. As always it will provide attendees the latest information on local, state, national, and international cannabis policy and give business what they need to get to the next level. 

    This is set to be their best conference yet and they are giving an ORCA member discount on tickets (Members use code "orcavip").  This discount is only good at time of purchase, no refunds will be made after tickets are purchased!

    The ICBC will provide attendees with the latest information on state and federal issues with sharp insight into the growing national and global industries. Additionally, it always provides top-notch networking opportunities with investors, entrepreneurs, and activists. 

    Early bird pricing of $349 ($299 - ORCA Members) for the conference or $499 ($399 - ORCA Members) for the conference plus VIP party only last until September 12th. This event is expected to sell out so register today!

    ORCA Members use the code "orcavip" at checkout to get your discount. This discount is only good at the time of purchase, no refunds will be made after tickets are purchased!

    The RAD (Retail and Dispensary) EXPO - Portland, OR October 10-11

    The RAD (Retail and Dispensary) Expo is coming back to Portland October 10-11, Because of its huge success in January. This unique B2B event is 100% focused on marijuana retail and dispensary businesses and is dedicated making sure that the Northwest is home to the best industry conference in the country. 

    The RAD Expo is FREE for cannabis retail and dispensary owners, buyers and employees so register today This ensures that the quality of attendees and networking is top shelf.   

    As great ORCA members, the RAD EXPO is offering ORCA members 25% off booths (Use Code "ORCA25").

    Tickets & More Information:
    Phone: (425) 656-3621

    “The RAD Expo is the only conference where we know almost everyone we talk to will be a potential client or partner because its focus on retail and brands,” ~ Jeff LaPenna, CEO of The Peak Beyond, a technology company aimed at retailers.

    Monthly Retail Sales Report

    We've got another of our monthly retail sales reports, courtesy of BDS Analytics, outlining exactly where the industry is moving and by how much.  Take a look.

    [Full Report Available As A PDF]

    BDS Analytics gets their data directly from cannabis retailers with whom they've partnered, and they use statistical modeling to get a highly accurate picture of what's happening in the statewide market.  What they've put together here is a great high-level summary of the Oregon market and an excellent overview of category and pricing data that we're able to share more broadly.
    This, of course, is just a snapshot of what they can offer businesses in terms of data, analytics, and insight.  Specific brand-level and product-level sales data is updated monthly and available on a subscription basis for producers and processors, and they're currently reporting in OR, CA, WA, and CO - with more to come soon.

    Contact BDS Analytics' staff in Oregon to learn more about how they can help.

    Together We Stand, Divided We Fall - Join Today!

    Many hands make light work. It's a simple statement but one ORCA lives by every day. Our industry needs a lot of very challenging regulatory reforms. These essential reforms, however difficult, are entirely achievable if as an industry we come together and speak with one voice for a singular vision. 

    This is the driving mission of ORCA and our 300+ members.  Every new member makes our voice louder, increases our resources, and makes our success more certain.  With a group like ours, what we accomplish is always ultimately going to be a function of our resources - so growing our membership is vital to our successes.  

    If you are not a member yet, sign up today and add your voice to the fight! 

    Members also get a ton of great benefits like promotional opportunities, advertising discounts, urgent policy updates, and access to MAPS credit union bank accounts for licensed businesses anywhere in the state. 


    That's all for this month.  We're always looking to do more for our members, and we hope these newsletters offer folks a taste of the services, benefits, and vital industry knowledge that folks get access to as a part of their membership.  If you aren't a member already, don't hesitate to contact our staff about how to get involved.

    Or, if you're already convinced, you can join online right now by visiting our website.

    Thanks again for following our work, and for your interest in supporting the work our organization does.  It truly makes a difference and we appreciate the support.


    Casey Houlihan,
    Executive Director

    The Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Assoc. Upcoming Events

    The Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA) is a member-supported non-profit trade association that fights for smart cannabis policy on behalf of our 300+ members in support of a vibrant retail cannabis marketplace in Oregon.

    Become a member and help us fight for a thriving, safe, and respected legal cannabis industry - Join Now!

     July 25-27 - NCIA's Cannabis Business Summit & EXPO - San Jose, CA

    July 30th - ORCA Member Meeting - Portland, OR

    August 4-5 - INDO EXPO - Portland, OR

    August 27-29 - Cannabis Science Conference - Portland, OR

    September 27-28 - International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) - Portland, OR

    October 10-11 - The RAD (Retailer & Dispensary) EXPO - Portland, OR

  • 15 Dec 2017 2:37 AM | Jesse Bontecou (Administrator)
    OMBC Friday 4/28, and ORCA Pre-OMBC Happy Hour Thursday 4/27

    The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) is coming up in Eugene TOMORROW, Friday, April 28th! 

    Oregon Marijuana Business Conference

    April 28th, 2017

    Valley River Inn - Eugene, OR

    The fine folks that run the conference have extended a discount on ticket prices for the conference to ORCA members, which you can access online here:

    You can find out more information about the event - including guest speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors - on their website at

    ORCA is also going to be hosting a Pre-OMBC Happy Hour LATER TODAY at the Steelhead Brewery in downtown Eugene from 4-6pm.  Stop by!

    ORCA Pre-OMBC Happy Hour

    Thursday, April 27th, 4-6pm

    Steelhead Brewery

    199 E 5th Ave, Unit #1

    Eugene, OR

    Start the OMBC off right and join ORCA for a casual happy hour. This is an open event for members and prospective members to socialize, meet the ORCA team, and get answers to any questions that you may have for us.  RSVP Today!

    Cannabis Industry Workshop w/ The HR Group 5/1

    I also wanted to remind everyone about the first of a really great series of workshops being put on by one of our members, The HR Group, about a variety of topics vital to cannabis business owners.

    In their own words:

    Attention Fellow ORCA members!  

    The HR Group and the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association are excited to present the first in our Cannabis Workshop Series, Growing Green. This workshop will walk through the past, present, and future of the Oregon cannabis industry with "Pioneer Pete" Gendron, Leland R. Berger, and OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks!

    The topics we’ll be addressing will be relevant to all cannabis professionals and based on the direct feedback that you have provided.

    We have had great success with our workshops in similar industries so expect so expect to receive valuable information from some of the top professionals in the industry. We hope to see you there!


    Michael L. WatkinsBusiness Development ManagerThe HR Group

    Growing Green - A Snapshot of Oregon's Cannabis Culture

    Monday, May 1st; 2:00pm - 4:00pm

    The Lucky Labrador Brewing Company

    921 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland OR

    Guest Speakers Include: 

    OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks

    "Pioneer Pete" Gendron

    Leland Berger

    Get your tickets for Growing Green here!

    These folks know the ins and outs of business better than anyone, and I'm sure that between the workshop content and the special guest speakers, there will be a lot of valuable information shared during the workshop that should prove useful.

    D.C. Lobby Days with NCIA - May 16th and 17th!

    In just a couple of weeks, it will be time for business owners, activists, and advocates from all over the country to converge on our nation's capitol for the annual National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Federal Lobby Days!

    NCIA’s Lobby Days provide the best opportunity to show our nation’s decision-makers what a legitimate and responsible cannabis industry looks like. We can help raise awareness of issues like the unfair banking and taxation policies hampering our industry’s potential to grow, and demand fair regulations like other industries.

    NCIA Federal Lobby Days

    May 16th and 17th

    Washington, DC

    Especially after our strong showing at our Lobby Day here at the state capitol, I'd really like to see what we can get done making our case at the federal level.

    From NCIA:

    Eager to get more involved in cannabis politics and make your voice heard? Wondering how you can help secure the future of our industry in a time of uncertainty? Good news! NCIA’s annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days in Washington, D.C. are coming in May.

    It’s one of the most important ways you can stand up for cannabis reform and your business, and we don’t want you to miss it.

    So CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY and join us on May 16 and 17 for NCIA’s 2017 Cannabis Industry Lobby Days.


    May ORCA Meeting - Wednesday, May 31st in Portland

    Also, be sure to mark your calendars because we've got our May meeting set for Wednesday, May 31st at the Lucky Lab beginning at 6:30pm, where we'll be joined by our special guest Jesse Sweet, Policy Analyst for the OLCC.

    May ORCA Meeting w/ OLCC Policy Analyst Jesse Sweet

    Wednesday, May 31st 

    6:30pm-8:30pm [Doors at 6:00pm]

    Lucky Labrador Brew Pub

    915 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Oregon 97214

    RSVP On Facebook
    The first half of our meeting will be policy updates and talking with our special guest speaker, and the second half will be a no-host Social Hour where members can network and interact with one another (or ORCA staff) in a casual atmosphere.  Join ORCA Today!

    We're now in our third year of organizing businesses within the cannabis industry to advocate for our shared priorities.  In that time, our groundbreaking policy victories provided significant measurable help to our members.  We've also developed a robust suite of member benefits and services, like weekly wholesale reports, legislative updates, monthly meetings, members-only online content, promotional opportunities, support staff, and access to banking services!

    But our work is far from over, there are always new opportunities and new threats to our industry.  There is no upper bound to what ORCA can take on if we have the resources and support of industry pioneers like you.

    As a member supported organization our successes are ultimately a product of our resources. This means that in order to keep fighting for a thriving industry at the state and federal level and to expand the scope of our work, we need your support.

    If you're not a dues-paying member of the association, please join the more than 150 businesses already fighting to make Oregon the epicenter of America's cannabis economy, and sign up today at our website -

    If you're already a member thank you for all the support!

    We truly appreciate the support, and look forward to continuing our mission of establishing a vibrant legal cannabis economy in Oregon, and working towards the larger goal of normalization regarding all cannabis policies.

    For more information, please feel free to check out our website at:


    Casey Houlihan

    Executive Director

    Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association 

  • 12 Dec 2017 4:16 AM | Jesse Bontecou (Administrator)

    Our first official Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol went off without a hitch, and wildly exceeded expectations.  Our delegation of 20 members did an incredible job communicating our concerns and focusing legislators' attention on our policy priorities - all while forging personal connections.

    I can't emphasize enough the importance of establishing relationships with your Representatives and Senators.  It goes such a long way in breaking through the noise that barrages them during session.

    It was clear from many of our conversations that we were able to measurably move the needle in our favor on our priority issues with key legislators and staff.

    In addition to discussing our opposition to the proposed tax increase [HB2204], we also discussed other important issues being explored by the legislature: creating licenses for temporary events and social consumption lounges [SB307], ending employment discrimination for off-hours cannabis use[SB301], and the necessity for adding OLCC commissioners from the cannabis industry to improve representation and accountability [SB1057].

    Our staff is working tirelessly with lawmakers at the capitol to help ensure we achieve our legislative priorities.  We are very effective at presenting arguments to legislators. But, hearing the real life impacts of these policies directly from local business owners and constituents is much more impactful. 
    We are proud that ORCA Lobby Day will be a regular event that will continue for all subsequent legislative sessions, and we look forward to having an even greater showing of our members there  in the future!

  • 12 Dec 2017 4:08 AM | Jesse Bontecou (Administrator)

    Hello everyone,

    It's been quite a while since ORCA put out a newsletter, but not for lack of keeping busy.  

    Since our last newsletter the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association has been instrumental in providing cannabis businesses a voice in the policymaking process and in shaping our industry's regulatory policies and here in the state.

    Since our last newsletter, our membership has grown... well... like a weed.  We now represent over 150 different cannabis businesses all across Oregon - including retailers, edibles manufacturers, processors, wholesalers, growers, and all sorts of ancillary businesses!  Our goal, however, remains the same: ensure Oregon has a thriving legal retail cannabis economy.

    We've been working with state regulators to flag problems with policy changes before they come to a head, as well as making sure our members are up to date on these changes and what they mean for their businesses.  Halting efforts to increase tax rates on cannabis sales by 5% has been our main priority for the current legislative session.

    But that's not all! Here's a little bit more about what we've done, what we're doing right now, and what we've got planned for the weeks ahead.

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