April 30, 2016
OLCC licenses seven marijuana growers
By Associated Press
New Breed Seed in Cottage Grove is the first state-authorized recreational marijuana seed producer in Oregon.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission on Friday approved licenses for New Breed Seed and seven marijuana growers, the first of many licenses related to the production and sale of marijuana expected to be approved by the state agency in the coming months.
One of the owners of New Breed Seed is Tom Johns, an owner of Territorial Seed Company in Cottage Grove.
Territorial Seed is a 37-year-old national seller of vegetables, fruits, flowers and seeds through a mail-order catalog and website.
Harold Frazier, a plant breeder at New Breed Seed, confirmed Johns’ role in the startup marijuana business but said “the two businesses are not related to each other.”
Johns also owns the 1¼-acre property where New Breed Seed is located near Territorial Seed, according to Lane County records.
Marijuana seeds sell for about $8 to $12 each, Frazier said.
New Breed Seed, with two employees, plans to produce marijuana seeds in greenhouses, Frazier said. Besides Johns, the other owners are Sandy Frazier, Harold Frazier’s father who lives in Portland, and Dale Fox, an accountant and Portland resident.
Harold Frazier, who oversaw an onion seed operation in Washington, said he and his father have experience in the vegetable seed business.
All of the companies that received licenses on Friday met criteria for recreational marijuana producer licenses, including reviews and inspections by agency workers.
In a statement, OLCC Chairman Rob Patridge said: “These licensees reflect the pioneering spirit Oregon is known for. They come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and possess the entrepreneurial spirit of this industry.”
New Breed Seed paid $3,750 for an annual license. “As soon as they pay their fee, their license fee, they are good to go,” OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger said.
With the license and the required product tracking system set up, Frazier said he planned to start planting marijuana this weekend. “We are happy to get going,” he said.
Recreational marijuana in Oregon is now sold through medical marijuana dispensaries regulated by the Oregon Health Authority.
The first pot sales by licensed retailers are expected in the fall.
New Breed Seed’s first seeds could be collected later this year. “We knew it was critical if we were going to be on the market in the fall,” Frazier said.
Among the first seven licensed marijuana flower, or bud, producers is Terra Mater, a Clackamas County company partly owned by Antonio Harvey, radio analyst for the Portland Trail Blazers NBA basketball team. On his Twitter account Harvey said last week that his wife, Jenny Speer-Harvey, and her family are on “the leading edge of Legal Cannabis in Oregon.”
As of Thursday, there were 624 recreational marijuana producer applications statewide and 69 in Lane County. The liquor control commission plans to meet weekly to approve applications through early June, when it is set to pass the duty to the agency’s executive director, Steven Marks.
The state does not have a limit on the number of companies that can be licensed marijuana producers, said Amanda Borup, policy analyst with the commission.
The people in the first eight companies to get licenses completed the necessary operations, security, business structure and cultivation plans, as well as obtained city or county land use approvals, and passed criminal background checks.
“They had really good applications,” Borup said.
The commission has made a priority of approving producers first, she said, particularly those that grow marijuana outside. During May, the emphasis will remain on outdoor producer licenses and expand to indoor growers. The state will eventually approve wholesale and retail licenses for recreational marijuana.
The state has two types of recreational marijuana producer licenses, based on the size of the grow site and whether marijuana is grown indoors or outside. The first type allows up to 5,000 square feet indoors or 20,000 square feet outdoors. The second type allows for up 10,000 square feet indoors and 40,000 square feet outdoors. The larger license costs $5,750.
Producers may have a mix of marijuana grown indoors and outdoors, with the commission deciding how to classify the producer.
Based on the size of its grow site, New Breed Seed falls into the smaller license category. New Breed Seed’s greenhouse does not use artificial light, so it’s considered to be similar to an outdoor grow.
The start-up aims to provide high-quality marijuana seeds with consistent genetics, Frazier said. That’s been missing in the marijuana market, he said. Most marijuana plants grown on the West Coast start as clones, or cuttings from other marijuana plants.
Other goals include improving disease resistance by plants grown from the company’s seeds and reducing the amount of pesticide used on marijuana, Frazier said.
The applications of the licensees were reviewed by OLCC investigators and the location of their business – the licensed premises – was inspected by OLCC field inspectors to ensure the applicant met all state laws and regulations before their applications were presented to the Commission for approval.
The licensees include:
Harold Frazier, Dale Fox, Maiden Azalea (New Breed Seed) – Lane County
Far Out Farms – Tillamook County
Preston Greene (Yerba Buena) – Washington County
Smokey Mountain Farm, LLC (Smokey Mountain Farm) – Washington County
Jennifer Speer-Harvey, Antonio Harvey, Daniel Speer (Terra Mater) – Clackamas
PWCC, LLC (Pacific Wonderland Craft Cannabis) – Clackamas County
SOCC, LLC (Southern Oregon Cannabis Company) – Jackson County
Charles J. Brooks (Loved Buds) – Josephine County
The OLCC has received 910 applications and expects to receive between 1200 and 2000 applicationsduring the 2016 calendar year. The agency expects to issue about 850 licenses in 2016.