Oregon Cannabis: Industry Groups File Suit Challenging Aspergillus Testing

In March of this year, the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) promulgated a new rule that required testing marijuana for certain microbiological contaminants, including for aspergillus. We wrote about this rule not long after noting that aspergillus—a type of mold that can cause a skin cause a condition called aspergillosis when inhaled or introduced through a cut in your skin.

Oregon’s new rule requires testing for four of the 180 or so species of aspergillus. Early data reflected fail rates ranging from 2.7% – 20% depending on the number of variants subject to testing. But many others saw this new rule as a potentially big issue in Oregon.

We noted that many people in Oregon, including trade groups, opposed these new aspergillus testing requirements. But we thought there was “no chance” of overturning this rule because “a) this is as close as you might see to a national standard in cannabis, if such a thing could exist, and b) it’s a public health issue.”

Well we are about to find out. On Friday, July 28, the Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon (“CIAO) and others filed a lawsuit challenging the OHA’s new aspergillus testing rule.  The petitioners seek to stop the OHA from enforcing the rule and contend they will suffer enormous financial losses if the court does not act.

The case was only just filed, so we don’t yet have a clear sense of how things will shake out. We’ll be sure to keep tabs on the case as it progresses. So as always, stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog for more updates.

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