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, and this spring I wrote about highlights concerning the more important bills that were passed by the legislative body in which they originated, and were referred to legislative committees in the other, non-originating legislative body at the time of my writing.
The regular session of Oklahoma’s 2021 Legislature ended on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The House and Senate adjourned after each passed last-minute bills that, should Governor Stitt sign one or both of them, would make minor changes to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana system. The Legislature passed several bills that the Governor has signed into law, which concern the MMJ program. Below are highlights.
House Bill 2272
HB 2272 is 7 pages long and becomes effective on July 1, 2021.
The most publicized aspect of this legislation concerned its original language that implemented a 2-year cap on any new OMMA commercial business licenses. This language was deleted from the bill as amended and passed. Thus, there remains no license cap in the State of Oklahoma.
HB 2272 does contain some provisions of which you should be aware, including the following:
1.HB 2272 addresses and requires the disclosure of foreign financial interests in MMJ business operations and includes new provisions concerning on-site “assessments” of a licensee or applicant to determine compliance, as well as limitations on inspections to twice per calendar year with 24-hours advance notice, unless OMMA determines an additional inspection “is necessary due to a violation or noncompliance”.
2.HB2272 codifies OMMA’s right to review relevant records and allows OMMA to interview persons affiliated with MMJ businesses, provided they are given time to secure legal counsel.
3.HB 2272 sets out circumstances under which disciplinary actions may be imposed on a MMJ business licensee, and monetary penalties for violations. It sets out what persons or entities may request a hearing to contest an action proposed or taken by OMMA, in accord with Oklahoma’s Administrative Procedures Act. In other words, OMMA will now be creating the framework for its administrative procedures.
4.HB 2272 provides that OMMA will begin scheduling on-site meetings and compliance inspections of your business starting September 1, 2021, for the primary purpose of confirming that you are “actively operating” or “working towards operational status.” If neither applies, then you will have a 180-day grace period to become operational. OMMA is authorized to grant one additional, 180-day grace period if needed.
Additional Bills Passed and Signed by the Governor, To Date
Additionally, the Legislature passed and Governor Stitt signed House Bill 2646, which is 90 pages long and becomes effective November 1, 2021. This legislation clarifies OMMA’s duties, among many other matters, and its provisions are simply too lengthy to discuss here.
Another notable bill signed but amended prior to its passage by both chambers is House Bill 2674, which is 16 pages long and becomes effective immediately under an emergency provision. Notably, the amended version of HB2674 does not impact Oklahoma’s MMJ system because a provision in earlier drafts of this bill that would have transferred OMMA from the Department of Health to the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission was removed, prior to passage of the final version which Governor Stitt signed.
What’s the take-away?
Be alert as these new laws become effective in the coming months.