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EUGENE, Ore. — The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission is resuming a program to have minors attempt to buy alcohol and cannabis products to catch retailers who fail to check identification, and has already caught several violators.

The OLCC’s Minor Decoy Operations involve sending volunteers under the age of 21 to alcohol and cannabis retailers to attempt to purchase products from them. The program was temporarily shelved in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of volunteers. The OLCC restarted the program in May this year by outright employing people between the ages of 18 and 20, and has already carried out several operations across Oregon. According to the OLCC, these operations have revealed that a disappointing number of retailers in the state are not properly checking IDs.

According to the OLCC, only 35% of Eugene-area alcohol retailers were found to be in compliance with ID-checking regulations in two separate operations carried out in the area. Statewide, only about 63% of retailers are properly checking IDs. The OLCC says these figures are disappointing, as their objective is to have 90% or more of retailers in compliance. The OLCC says they will soon commence more aggressive compliance operations to encourage alcohol sellers to properly train employees in ID checking rules, and will consider imposing harsher punishments on the sale of alcohol to minors.

The Eugene area fared the worst in OLCC’s minor decoy operations, but other regions in Oregon still fell short of the commission’s stated 90% compliance goal. Two operations in Portland found compliance rates of 70% and 85%, and an operation in Salem showed a compliance rate of 88%. The OLCC said their Marijuana Program recently completed a minor decoy operation in the Medford region that showed a compliance rate of just 67%.

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