Oregon cannabis businesses and their employees are required to report suspected cases of human trafficking to the state or face legal consequences.
for each language of order From the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, “Employees or workers at a marijuana-licensed facility may be must report to law enforcement or the OLCC if the employee or worker has a reasonable belief that a minor is being employed or contracted at the facility in a manner that violates OLCC regulations; must also be reported.”
That may sound badass, but in reality, it would be a Category 2 violation for a cannabis employee to fail to report a suspected case of human trafficking. Subject to imprisonment of up to 30 days and/or a fine of just under $5,000.
As those who have spent the past decade or so around cannabis grow as employees, journalists and visitors, cannabis growth employees usually, but not always, find it strange to include employees in the language of command. It seemed — in remote locations, far from quick police response times and possibly functioning phones.
I asked OLCC’s Bryant Haley if an employee who fails to report this sort of thing is subject to fines or jail time.
“I don’t think so,” Haley said. “That’s the viciousness of all cases. Did the person participate in some sort of illegal activity? That’s a different situation. Did they intentionally turn a blind eye to it?” ? That’s a different situation.”
According to Haley, the OLCC received the mandate to enact the order from legislation passed at the state level to address rampant labor and sex trafficking on marijuana farms in southern Oregon. “Hemp farms,” which are just cannabis farms using forced labor, are a big enough issue for the state legislature to direct the OLCC to require this report from license holders.
According to Mark Pettinger, another OLCC spokesperson, this essentially turns anyone who works in the cannabis industry into an “essential reporter.” It is the responsibility of the police to actually pursue prison sentences for employees. OLCC does not have that capability. However, OLCC can impose fines.
When asked whether the OLCC plans to fine employees who worked for cannabis dealers found to be involved in human trafficking, particularly those who failed to report such crimes, Haley said: , I haven’t been able to give a definite answer because no such case has happened yet. , but he said their office’s primary directive is to take action against permit holders.
Anyway, human trafficking in the cannabis industry is a big problem and it would be remiss not to include the following attempts to help combat it with the little power given to me:
If you or someone you know has been involved in human trafficking, call the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directly at 1-866-347-2423 or report it online. here.
If you are in or own a cannabis business in Oregon and suspect that human trafficking or child labor has occurred, you are legally required to report it using our online tools. here.