Listen up friends. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) plans to drop the hammer on bad actors in the regulated Oregon market. Or so the Commission announced in a stern news release on Friday, July 29 (the “Release”). The Release is titled “Commissioners plan to tighten ‘change of ownership’ option.” For good effect, it is subtitled “Bad actors won’t get an easy off-ramp to sell their business.” Sounds pretty serious.
We’ve been waiting for this release to drop. Over the past year or so, we’ve watched OLCC case presenters take more aggressive positions in settlement talks following any notice of proposed license cancellation. The Commission is also giving stronger scrutiny these days to so-called “surrender to sell” transactions, especially where the seller will hold any sort of financial interest in the buyer licensee after closing (note: “financial interest” in this context is construed more broadly than in regular old licensing).
For anyone unfamiliar with how “surrender to sell” transactions work, the OLCC historically has allowed a licensee charged with serious offenses to “sell” their license interest to an unrelated third party– if certain criteria are met. The mechanics are simple. The OLCC and the subject party enter a stipulated