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Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Program – 2021 Legislation Still In Play

by Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish | Cannabis Lawyer

Earlier this year I provided an introduction to some of the more substantive bills filed in the Oklahoma House and Senate pertaining to Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Program. What follows are highlights concerning the more important bills that now have been passed by the legislative body in which they originated, and have been referred to legislative committees in the other, non-originating legislative body.

HOUSE BILLS PASSED AND SENT TO SENATE

Highlights of the provisions included in several bills passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, sent to the Senate and referred to a Senate Committee, include, but are not limited to the following.

House Bill 2272

House Bill 2272 creates the Cap on Medical Marijuana Businesses Act of 2021. It passed the House on March 10, 2021, and has been sent to the Senate, where it passed in the Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee and is now under consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A METRC Primer, by Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish

Notably, this bill provides for a two-year cap on OMMA dispensary, processor, and commercial grower licenses beginning September 1, 2021, and ending September 1, 2023. The bill caps those licenses “at the total number of licenses active in each category as of September 1, 2021, combined with the total number of applications pending in each category with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority which were submitted prior to September 1, 2021. In order to determine the final amount of authorized medical marijuana dispensary licenses, medical marijuana processor licenses and medical marijuana commercial grower licenses in this state, the Authority shall first process all pending applications for each license category received prior to September 1, 2021, and add that number to the total number of active licenses in each category as of September 1, 2021.”

This bill also allows for submission of a commercial business license application without a Certificate of Compliance (“CoC”), giving each applicant one hundred eighty days from the date of a provisional license approval (available without the CoC) to submit the required CoC to OMMA.

The bill calls for an automatic reduction in the number of dispensary licenses, such reduction to be based on the number of medical marijuana dispensary licenses surrendered, canceled or otherwise terminated, until such time as the total number of active medical marijuana dispensary licenses is equal in number to two thousand, beginning September 1, 2021, and ending September 1, 2023.

House Bill 2646

House Bill 2646 clarifies the duties of OMMA. It was sent to the Senate on March 15, where it has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee after passing in the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee.

House Bill 2004

House Bill 2004 concerns licensing, taxes, and also clarifies OMMA’s duties and functions. It passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Notably, this bill allows patients with medical marijuana licenses to legally possess twelve mature plants instead of the current cap of six mature plants. It also provides for a temporary patient license for residents of other states, and seals all patient and caregiver records and information to protect privacy, specifically providing that “such records shall not be shared with any other state agency or political subdivision without a warrant”.

House Bill 2674

House Bill 2674 would transfer the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission. This bill passed the House and was referred to the Senate, where it has been assigned to the Public Safety Committee and then to the Appropriations Committee. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, it would mandate significant changes to Oklahoma’s existing medical marijuana system.

SENATE BILLS PASSED AND SENT TO HOUSE

Highlights of the provisions included in several Oklahoma Senate bills that have been passed and referred to the state House of Representatives include the following.

Senate Bill 459

Senate Bill 459 addresses workplace drug and alcohol procedures and modifies safety-sensitive positions, including additional rights of medical marijuana patients. The bill also modifies definitions of “batch number”, “cannabinoid”, “clone”, “caregiver” and “child-resistant” packaging (among others). It also adds “volunteers” to the classification of individuals who serve in safety-sensitive positions and may be subject to a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy. The bill was referred to the House Business and Commerce Committee on March 22, 2021.

Senate Bill 1033

Senate Bill 1033 amends language contained in State Question 788 to protect medical marijuana license holders from discrimination under certain circumstances by schools, landlords, and employers.

Significantly, this bill also prohibits municipalities from unduly changing or restricting zoning laws to prevent the opening of dispensaries. The bill grandfathers-in certain licensed locations, clarifies how to measure the 1000-foot setback distance required for dispensaries from any public or private school entrance, and allows license transfers under certain conditions. It has been assigned to the House Alcohol, Tobacco, and Controlled Substances Committee.

Senate Bill 522

Senate Bill 522 requires the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to contract with one or more third-party vendors to provide certain licensing services for medical marijuana education facility licensees, medical marijuana business licensees and employees of such entities. This bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Alcohol, Tobacco, and Controlled Substances Committee.

So…what’s the take-away? Stay tuned!

There may be some significant changes in Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana System by May 2021!
Information contained herein provides general information related to the law and does not provide legal advice. It is recommended that readers consult their personal lawyer if they want legal advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or is formed between you and Ms. Parrish as a result of this article.

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