The Oregon Liquor Control Commission lacks “robust” monitoring and enforcement controls to track the state’s $480 million marijuana industry, making illegal sales difficult to detect, a new audit concludes.
The Secretary of State’s review raises alarms about how effectively the agency oversees the flourishing marijuana market in Oregon.
The report comes as Oregon finds itself in the federal crosshairs for its role as an illegal exporter of cannabis to other states. Just last week, Billy Williams, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, convened a summit to discuss the illicit marijuana trade.
Gov. Kate Brown, a steadfast defender of the industry, told Williams and others at the summit that the state has focused on instituting “extensive safety and tracking measures.” In a letter last year to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Brown highlighted the state’s tight regulation of the burgeoning market.
But the audit, made public Wednesday, found that while the information systems themselves function well, monitoring and security are inadequate. The report cited a host of problems — from not enough inspectors to a reliance on marijuana businesses to report their own data.
Auditors, who also uncovered errors and outdated information in the agency’s tracking systems, made 17 recommendations for improvements and noted that the liquor commission “generally agreed” with the findings. [Read more at The Oregonian]