OLCC’s Two-Faced Concern For The Children

OLCC exhibits extreme concern about marijuana enticing kids, yet allows and encourages alcohol enticing kids.

oregon liquor control commission olcc

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, also tasked with the regulation of all things cannabis, recently released an update to its guidance about strain naming. We can’t have marijuana appealing to the children when it’s sold in an adults-only store that checks ID, goes the reasoning, so we have to ban certain strain names.

OLCC writes, “A label cannot contain any words that refer to products that are commonly associated with minors, marketed by minors, or any names that are false or misleading.” Included in the ban are “Names of children’s toys or any character or other item in a children’s book, TV show, or movie, [like] Incredible Hulk, Ewok, Optimus Prime, and Light Saber; Food Products Marketed to or by Children, [like] Any Girl Scout Cookie – Thin Mints, Dosidos, etc., Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and Skittles; and False or Misleading [names such as] Green Crack, Opium, and Special K.”

Cereal Aisle
We can’t have marijuana being confused for corn-syrup-sweetened children’s cereals named after candy!

Ironically, under these regulations, Charlotte’s Web, the high-cannabidiol strain that’s helped innumerable children, will have to be renamed to not appeal to children, even though it was named after Charlotte Figi, the epileptic child Dr. Sanjay Gupta featured in CNN’s documentary about medical marijuana, not the award-winning children’s book.

While these strains are sold only to adults in adult stores, it is conceivable a kid could find a bag lying around somewhere, see that it says “Girl Scout Cookies,” become excited at the prospect of a tasty cookie, open it up to find a dried piece of flower, shrug his shoulders and gulp it down. A very determined, stupid kid, I suppose.

Girl Scout at Pot Shop
Outside the dispensary, you can buy Girl Scout Cookies. Not inside.

But OK, let’s accept the premise that we’ve got to do everything in our power to protect the children from the herb that’s incapable of killing them, and crucial to that mission is prohibiting the marketing of marijuana that in any way that might even remotely entice the children.

How, then, do we reconcile OLCC’s seeming reluctance to ban peppermint-flavored, candy-cane-wrappered vodka? Or “hard lemonade” and “hard root beer?” Or yummy foil-wrapped chocolates with liquor in the center?

OLCC Kids
YOU CAN’T CALL A MARIJUANA FLOWER “GIRL SCOUT COOKIES,” ARE YOU INSANE? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!?

This two-faced approach to cannabis and alcohol is just the latest example of cannabigotry from a state where the voters mandated that we “treat marijuana like alcohol.” Another would be the Oregon Brewer’s Festival.

For over a decade, the cannabis community had held an event called Hempstalk. The city did everything it could to shut down this gathering when marijuana was illegal. Now that it is legal, Hempstalk continues to be harassed and thwarted by city officials. Chief among the concerns of the authorities is the welfare of the children who might be exposed to adults using cannabis.

But for the Brewer’s Festival that attracts 80,000 people to openly drink alcohol in public, the red carpet has been rolled out annually for 31 years. They not only allow you to bring your children to the event, they provide them their own beverages for aping the adults around them and entice them with fun face painting!

Oregon Brewer's Festival
Well, of course you can bring children to an event where 80,000 people are taking drugs, just sign a form promising you won’t let them try any.

I’ve already written about OLCC’s other two-facedness with respect to protecting the children from the character-destroying sight of their parents engaging in the wicked behavior of consuming cannabis. It’s not enough to warn us to keep pot locked up away from kids. Every purchase of cannabis in Oregon must be accompanied by this slip of paper reminding adults that using marijuana around kids is unsafe and unhealthy.

OLCC Marijuana Kids Warning-min
Actual printed warning every licensed marijuana retailer must include with every marijuana purchase.

However, not only does the OLCC not require such a warning instructing parents to lock up their booze away from kids and not to drink in front of their kids, OLCC actually provides guidance to parents that, under Oregon law, they can drink up with their kids.

OLCC Alcohol for Minors
“Whoa, hold on, kiddo, lemme put this joint out before we toast to your 16th birthday…”

This continued separate-but-unequal treatment by the OLCC over the two drugs they regulate is maddening enough. But to be told their reasoning for restrictions on the safer of the two drugs is out of concern for the children is indefensible bullshit when they’re silent or even encouraging of enticing the children to use the more harmful of the two drugs.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 199 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on MJAgenda.com.  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.