THREE CHANGES IN THE WORKS FOR OMMA LICENSED BUSINESSES
by Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish
The past several months have seen numerous changes to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana system, including new OMMA Permanent Rules; Amendments to OMMA Permanent Rules by September 16, 2021 Emergency Rules; passage of new bills by the state legislature such as HB 2272, HB 3228, HB 2646, and SB 1033 among those impacting medical marijuana and signed into law by Governor Stitt, with varying effective dates; and litigation over OMMA’s selection of METRC for seed-to-sale tracking.
This writing will discuss three important changes among the plethora of developments, of which all OMMA business licensees should be aware:
1) implementation of OMMA on-site inspections to confirm all licensees are in fact operating and doing business;
2) removal of the 2-year Oklahoma residency requirement for transporter agents; and
3) allowing OMMA-licensed dispensaries and growers to package and sell medical marijuana as pre-rolls.
1. OMMA’s OPERATIONAL STATUS VISIT
Under OMMA’s Permanent Rules as Amended by the Emergency Rules, OMMA has implemented an “initial operational status visit” for all growers, processors, and dispensaries, effective September 1, 2021. Pursuant to this new provision, OMMA will be scheduling on-site visits at licensed growers, processors, and dispensaries to verify whether the licensee is “actively operating” or is “working towards becoming operational.” (See Title 310, Oklahoma State Department of Health Regulations, Chapter 681-5-4.1.) These visits shall occur within the first 180 days after a new licensee receives their OMMA license.
If the licensee fails to provide proof that they are “actively operating or working towards operational status”, then OMMA will grant the licensee a grace period of an additional 180 days from the date of OMMA’s initial operational status visit, within which to become operational. Follow-up visits will occur and, in the event the required proof is not provided upon the second visit, then OMMA may grant a discretionary, additional 180 days to the licensee, to become operational. However, the grace period shall not extend beyond the one-year license term. If compliance is not established and/or OMMA elects not to grant an additional grace period, then OMMA will seek revocation of the commercial business license.
2. REMOVAL OF THE CURRENT 2-YEAR OKLAHOMA RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR TRANSPORTER AGENTS.
OMMA’s Permanent Rules as Amended by the Emergency Rules remove “transporter agent” from the definition of a “commercial license” but still require that all transporter agents provide proof of 2-year Oklahoma residency. On November 1, 2021, this will change. House Bill 2646, which becomes effective on that date, clarifies the residency requirement to require that transporter agent applicants provide only proof of current Oklahoma residency, as opposed to the
2-year Oklahoma residency requirement applicable to 75% of the ownership of medical marijuana commercial business licensees.
3. DISPENSARIES AND GROWERS CAN PACKAGE AND SELL PRE-ROLLS.
House Bill 2646, which becomes effective November 1, 2021, authorizes OMMA licensed dispensaries and growers to package and sell medical marijuana as pre-rolls, thus eliminating any confusion about whether they can do so.
What’s the take-away?
While there are many changes coming to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana system in the coming days, it remains the Wild, Wild West.
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.