There are multiple risks that a PRF or facility may face if they do not use a testing laboratory that complies with Oregon law and administrative rules as required.
A laboratory found to be out of compliance with state law may result in the invalidation of some or all test results previously performed by that laboratory. This would not only require that a PRF or facility have their medicines tested again if they used such a non-compliant laboratory, but would also result in those medicines not being eligible for transfer to patients until the re-testing is performed.
Not utilizing a laboratory that complies with Oregon law and administrative rules may additionally remove a facility or PRF from protected status under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Protected status gives certain legal exemptions – those who are no longer exempted may face criminal prosecution.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a memorandum on August 29, 2013, with guidance regarding marijuana enforcement. The memorandum indicates areas where the federal government will focus its attention. One of the topics is the prevention of state-authorized marijuana activity used as a cover for illegal trafficking of marijuana. Not using a laboratory that complies with Oregon law and administrative rules may be seen by the federal government as a pretext for illegal trafficking.
On August 14, 2013, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed House Bill 3460 authorizing medical marijuana dispensaries, under the regulation of the Oregon Health Authority. Upon signing, Kitzhaber clearly indicated that he wanted the OHA to be “extraordinarily vigorous” in enforcing all the rules set forth. The purpose of this statement was to ensure that Oregon was properly regulating the OMMP as expected by the federal government guidance.
To ensure legal protections under the State of Oregon and the legitimate growth of the cannabis healthcare industry, it is essential that PRFs, facilities, and testing laboratories comply with Oregon State law and administrative rules. Non-compliance may not only put a PRF or facility at risk, but could also jeopardize the whole OMMP program.