Sen. Bonham: Calls for independent OLCC investigation unanswered

Oregon State Senator Daniel Bonham,

Many Republican and Independent legislators have urged for a nonpartisan investigation into the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s (OLCC) alleged favorable treatment during land acquisition and its rare liquor distribution among government employees. I spoke on the Senate Floor about this.

The Governor’s office has said that the partisan DOJ’s investigation will suffice. I disagree.

To further illustrate the corruption of the OLCC, last week, Willamette Week published the results of an investigation into La Mota, the second largest cannabis dispensary chain in the state.

The OLCC has opened and closed 196 investigations of La Mota licenses since January 2019. Why?In 2018, an OLCC investigator found 163 pounds of what he alleged was unaccounted-for weed at a Jackson County La Mota warehouse. OLCC staff asked its board to cancel the warehouse’s license. They never did.

And despite a longstanding history of unpaid taxes (which are supposed to, in large part, go to Oregon schools), the OLCC continues to grant the chain new licenses each year. This is a real example of “follow the money.”

Now more than ever, the OLCC needs to be investigated by an independent board to help on the long road to restoring Oregonians’ trust in the government and its employees.