The state senate has passed multiple legislation to further regulate medical cannabis businesses, despite the fact that Oklahoma voters rejected legalizing marijuana in March 2023.
Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed new regulations that will bolster financing for local enforcement of the medical marijuana business and crack down on illegal cannabis sales in Oklahoma.
The legislation was passed by the Legislature in the final week of March 2023, and as a result, county sheriffs can now apply for grant funding to hire a full-time deputy to help with compliance inspections carried out by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
The objective of the new law is to give enforcement officials the ability to assist the medical marijuana authority in cases when legally operating marijuana enterprises are unwilling to allow property inspections.
New Oklahoma Cannabis Enforcement Laws
- Requires all applicants to provide fingerprints for Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation background checks.
- Allows OMMA to permanently revoke the medical marijuana business license of any licensee who willfully fails to pay taxes, and specifies that the licensee will never again be eligible to get a medical marijuana business license of any other type.
- Permits on-site, unannounced inspections of the operations, and any facility of licensees for medical marijuana research or education by OMMA, OBNDD, OSBI, and the Attorney General.
- Upon suspicion of any criminal behavior, permits OMMA, OBNDD, OSBI, and the Attorney General to issue subpoenas for the documents required to establish the identities of any parties with ownership interests in marijuana businesses.
- Prevents the issuance of more than one medical marijuana commercial producer license for one unit of property.
- Prevents commercial medical marijuana growers from being situated within a mile of a place of worship.
- Prohibits the hiring of undocumented workers and their presence anywhere on the property of a facility that has a license. If found guilty of violating this rule, a commercial grower faces a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail, a maximum fine of $500, or both. Additionally, OMMA may decide not to issue them licenses going forward and withdraw their license.
- HB 2095 gives law enforcement until 2026 to shut down illegal marijuana farms by extending the restriction on new grow licenses.
The marijuana authority’s goals will mostly not alter as a result of its departure from the Health Department, but it will now be able to establish its own administrative regulations and take more decisive action to curtail illegal activity.
By appropriately regulating legitimate businesses that Oklahomans have approved, this will assist to reduce the black market that threatens their well-being.
The state’s medical marijuana authority also anticipates hiring more people and filling senior roles in the months preceding the agency’s move to independence.