Oregon Cannabis: Why Public Records Laws Matter to Oregon Marijuana Businesses

Every state has some form of open records laws. Most of us have probably heard of the Freedom of Information Action (“FOIA”) which is the federal open records law. The purpose of the FOIA according to the U.S. Supreme Court is “to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed.” The purpose of state open records law is no different. Open records laws can serve others purpose beyond the vital roles of checking corruption and holding government officials to account.

This post discusses how licensees and businesses involved in the Oregon recreational marijuana market can—and often do—make use of the Oregon Public Records Act. The Oregon Public Records Act (the “Act”), ORS 192.001 et seq., gives “every person” a right to inspect the public records of a public body unless a specific exemption applies. (The term “every person” includes business entities and partnerships as well).

The Act applies to the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission (“OLCC”) as it is a public body that maintains non-exempt public records. (Side note: the Oregon Liquor Control Commission recently changed “control” to “cannabis”; we are happy

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