Oregon has been at the forefront of progressive policies. It was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana.
In November 2020, voters opted to decriminalize all drugs, including small amounts of heroin.
Oregonians might be more progressive, but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. Marijuana and alcohol use are closely regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
That’s where an OLCC server permit comes into play. Many businesses and servers ask, “Do I need an OLCC permit?”
It’s a very valid question. Read on to learn if your business should get an OLCC permit, the potential benefits, and how you can get an OLCC permit.
What Is an OLCC Permit?
An OLCC permit is a license to handle, sell, or distribute alcohol or marijuana in public. There are a number of different OLCC permits, depending on your business needs.
Is an OLCC permit just for distributors, restaurants, or dispensaries? No, you’ll be surprised by how many organizations and individuals need an OLCC permit.
For example, a non-profit organization holding a casino event fundraiser that offers alcoholic beverages would need to have an OLCC permit for that night. Plus, all servers would need to have an OLCC permit.
Even if there isn’t a door charge or the drinks are included in the cost to attend you still need to have an OLCC server permit. That’s because you’re still handling and distributing alcohol in public.
What if you work in a restaurant and occasionally help out servers on a busy night? If you step behind the bar and mix a drink for a customer to speed things up, you need to have an OLCC permit.
Even if you just handle the payment for a table that ordered alcoholic drinks, you need to have a permit.
Types of OLCC Permits
Let’s talk about the types of OLCC permits that businesses and individuals can get.
Businesses can get a liquor license. There are different classes of licenses that apply to breweries, brewpubs, distilleries, distillery tastings, sales on-premises, and non-profits.
The fees for these licenses range from $1,000 for breweries to $10 a day for certain special events. You can see all of the license types on the OLCC website.
An alcohol server permit is for individuals who want to work in restaurants, pubs, or other establishments that sell or distribute alcohol.
The good news here is that the application to get an OLCC permit costs a lot less than a liquor license. It’s less than $30 for a five-year permit.
The bad news is that it takes longer because you need to take a training course to get an OLCC server permit.
On the marijuana side of things, you also have licenses and permits. Licenses allow businesses to grow, sell, or distribute marijuana products.
The OLCC offers different marijuana licenses for growers, retailers, wholesalers, processors, and researchers.
Marijuana permits are a must for employees of marijuana producers, retailers, processors, and wholesalers. This costs $100 only for approved permits.
Benefits of an OLCC Permit
If you have a business that handles marijuana or alcohol, an OLCC permit makes your business legal. There are stiff fines for not having a permit.
From a server’s perspective, you’re immediately employable. You can work for a catering company, restaurant, or dispensary.
It just makes sense to have an OLCC permit if you plan to handle marijuana or alcohol at your business.
Is My Permit From Another State Transferrable?
What if you’re a bartender who just moved to Oregon from another state. Would you be able to use your permit from that state in Oregon? After all, that usually happens with driver’s licenses.
No, you would not.
You would get no credit for having experience in another state. You’d have to go through the process all over again.
How to Get an OLCC Server Permit
Would you like to know how to get an OLCC permit? The first step is to figure out what kind of permit you need. The best way to do that is to look at your business.
As you learned earlier, there are dozens of different types of licenses and permits. Look through the list and see which one applies to your business. If you’re not sure, contact the OLCC directly and ask.
You don’t want to make an assumption only to have your application rejected.
An OLCC server permit is a bit different. You need to make sure that you qualify. You need to be 18 years old. If you’re between 18-21, be aware that there are limitations on what you can do.
If you have a felony related to drugs or violence two years before your application date, the OLCC will deny your application. Same if you have two felonies four years before your application date.
You’ll need to go to the OLCC website and submit your application online. You’ll then take a class for your OLCC permit, which can take a couple of hours or a half-day. The cost for the class is between $10-$50.
Once you complete the class, you’ll go back to the OLCC website and take an exam. You’ll get your permit with a passing grade of 70%.
You’ll go through a similar process for a marijuana worker permit. You need to apply online, take a course, and pass an exam.
Getting an OLCC Permit Is Worth It
Do you need to have an OLCC server permit? If you plan to serve, handle, sell, or distribute alcohol or marijuana, you need to have one.
You don’t want to incur the wrath of the OLCC because you didn’t get a permit. You could get huge fines or your business shut down altogether.
It’s a simple process that doesn’t cost a lot. It’s well worth it for you and your business.
Ready for more business tips? Check out the other articles on this site that help you grow your business.