In an effort to increase transparency and accountability for producers during periods of harvest, the OLCC has adopted a harvest notification rule, effective August 1, 2018. While the rule has been effective since August 1, the harvest notice functionality was not activated on METRC until September 7, 2018 and the OLCC did not begin requiring harvest notices in METRC until September 10, 2018. The rule requires that all licensed outdoor producers file a notice with the OLCC “before harvesting usable marijuana from any mature plant located in an outdoor canopy area.” The notice must be filed before 9am on the day of harvest and must identify the date(s) of the proposed harvest. Additionally, the rule permits licensees to rescind or amend a filed notice within 24 hours of the harvest date(s) identified in the notice, if the harvest does not take place as described in the initial notice.
The rule makes clear that failing to file a notice will result in a violation and that filing the notice does not relieve the producer from recording all other required information in CTS as required by the OLCC. Failure to file a harvest notice is a Category III violation for each day the violation occurs. Failure to properly amend a notice is a Category IV violation for each day the violation occurs. Note that the Category IV violation is only for failure to amend a filed notice. There is no violation for failure to rescind a filed notice if the harvest described in that notice does not take place at all.
As a reminder, while OLCC has discretion to consider aggravating and mitigating factors in determining the penalty for any violation, the proposed penalty for a first-time Category III violation in any two-year period is either a 10-day suspension or a $1650 fine and the proposed penalty for a first-time Category IV violation in any two-year period is a seven-day suspension or a $1155 fine.
It should also be noted that, after a harvest notice is filed, the OLCC may inspect the licensee’s premises to verify that the harvest is occurring as described in the notice. Upon inspection for harvest, the OLCC can and will look at the licensed premises for general compliance with the OLCC rules. In addition to ongoing compliance activities, licensees should incorporate an annual compliance check in advance of harvest season.
The full text of the harvest notification rule can be found
here. The OLCC’s harvest notification bulletin can be found here: Harvest compliance bulletin