Since voters approved state Question 788, which legalized medical marijuana in Oklahoma in 2018, the legislature has worked with workers in the fledgling industry, law enforcement, and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) to craft regulations around the industry to keep the public safe, ensure that only legal businesses operate in the state.
We first formed a bipartisan working group to receive input from all stakeholders including people using the drug for pain and symptom relief from long-term illnesses to those who grow, manufacture or sell the product to those in the medical profession and in agriculture.
Over the past few years, we’ve heard from various entities including law enforcement, county governments, utilities, and people who live near marijuana growing up on a variety of issues. These include the proliferation of illegal products grown and sold in the state and the resulting public safety issues, concerns about foreign ownership and potential drug cartel money being used to pay above-market prices for property. Other issues include stress on local water and electricity supplies, inability of tax assessors to access properties, bad odors, various concerns of nearby landlords, and more.
To address these concerns, the House of Representatives has passed perhaps the most comprehensive list of reforms we have yet to better regulate the industry.
Here’s a look at a few of the bills we passed last week:
HB2025 requires all medical marijuana companies to post standardized permit signs in the workplace.
HB2179 separates medical marijuana plantation licenses into layers for different types of facilities.
HB3019 allows medical marijuana packaging to be clear so that consumers can view the product, as long as the container is child-resistant. It also requires warning labels that say “For use by licensed medical marijuana patients only” and “Keep out of reach of children.”
HB3208 directs OMMA to impose a two-year ban on the issuance of new business licenses to dispensaries, processors and commercial growers effective August 1. This does not apply to renewal of licenses and can be stopped if all pending license reviews, inspections or investigations are completed. In addition, a change in business ownership is prohibited if the licensee has an existing violation that may necessitate revocation, suspension, or non-renewal of the license.
HB3350 creates a grant program for county sheriff’s departments to fund law enforcement efforts in each county.
HB 3634 creates a commercial license to sell medical marijuana in bulk, but prohibits wholesalers from growing, producing, or selling medical marijuana and requires them to use traceable seed for sale.
HB3734 requires all entities seeking a medical marijuana license to first obtain a provisional 180-day license. In addition, all entities that have been granted an annual license must pay $1,500 annually to maintain their license.
HB3752 makes it illegal for a marijuana owner to give up the property without returning the land to its previous state.
HB3827 requires all licensed medical marijuana growers to register as an environmentally sensitive crop owner to reduce the potential for pesticide drift damage.
HB4055 requires strict electrical and hydro data reporting by marijuana growers.
HB4056 requires standardized laboratory testing and equipment.
These bills garnered enough votes to pass through the House of Representatives this year. Now the bills are moving to the other side of the Oklahoma Capitol for Senate consideration. Those laws that are passed in the Senate will then pass to the Governor’s office.