For better than a year the marijuana industry in Oklahoma operated in what might be described as a state of regulatory limbo. That changed last month with enactment of legislation creating a new regulatory structure for cannabis growers, dispensaries, doctors and patients.
Voters in Oklahoma approved a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana in June 2018. And although the state has been issuing MMJ licenses since August 2018, and there are an estimated 1,100 dispensaries selling MMJ products in the state, the industry has been operating under temporary regulations. The new rules – which cover everything from cultivation, distribution, prescribing, selling and using medical marijuana – derived from the efforts of a working group that included industry representatives, MMJ advocates and a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The new law gives specific rulemaking authority to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which has estimated it will cost $15.6 million to oversee the state’s MMJ industry during the current fiscal year, TulsaWorld.com reports. That report also noted that the state has collected about $45 million in license fees and tax proceeds from MMJ businesses since August 2018.
Here’s a rundown of key MMJ requirements established under the new Oklahoma law.
Licensed MMJ Businesses in the state must use seed-to-sale tracking systems and include product information (such as THC content and other testing results) on all packaging. They also need to obtain certificates of compliance from their respective local jurisdictions that address zoning as well as fire, waste and building codes. The new law also states that municipalities cannot “unduly restrict” cannabis businesses from operating inside their jurisdictions.
Growers and Processors of MMJ are now required to separate harvests into 10-pouind batches and provide test samples from each batch.
Doctors are prohibited from approving patient recommendations for MMJ licenses while inside an MMJ business, such as a dispensary. Doctors also now may access OMMA’s data base of patient information, and can request OMMA to terminate specific patient licenses.
MMJ Patients who own firearms are protected under the new law, in that it specifically allows gun owners to obtain MMJ licenses. Many states have put up roadblocks to gun owners obtaining MMJ licenses due to federal prohibitions against “illegal drug users” possessing firearms. The new law also allows employers in “safety sensitive” lines of work, such as firefighting and hazardous materials handling, to consider an applicant’s MMJ patient status when making hiring decisions. But patients not holding jobs deemed “safety sensitive” are protected against firing based solely on drug tests that are positive for THC.