Oklahoma Bill Would Let Medical Cannabis Agency Shut Down Non-Eco-Friendly Operations

The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill this week to let the state’s top medical cannabis regulator shut down cannabis operations that are damaging the environment; the bill moves next to the House for consideration.

Full story after the jump.

The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday passed a measure that would allow the director of the state Medical Marijuana Authority to shut down cannabis operations that are damaging the environment, KOKH reports. Sen. Joe Newhouse (R) authored the legislation and argued that it would help reign in medical cannabis operations in the state that are not following state law. 

“They’re flaunting our laws. They’re not taking care of our land. Many are abusing our environment, and we need to stop this. … “One of the tell-tale signs of black market operators is their destruction of the environment. There’s contaminants, there’s runoff, even sometimes human waste that’s not being taken care of.” — Newhouse via KOKH  

Oklahoma has one of the nation’s most permissive medical cannabis programs, but it has been rife with controversy. Last year, two Oklahoma attorneys were charged in a “Ghost Owner” scheme for putting their assistants’ names on more than 400 cannabis cultivation applications for non-residents. Later that year, four people – all Chinese citizens – were murdered at a cannabis farm. The suspect, Wu Chen, was also a Chinese national and the alleged straw owner of the farm, Richard Ignacio, was arrested and charged with felony conspiracy against the state. 

Travis C. Smith, the founder of Smokey Okie’s Cannabis, told KOKH that “there are thousands of illegal grows” in the state and that officials “could walk in and shut down overnight if they just visited them.” He added that he doesn’t think Newhouse’s law will do much to stop them.     

“This legislature is fired up to pass a lot of anti-cannabis legislation,” he said in the report, “but until start enforcing the rules they have, against, against the bad actors, passing more rules just isn’t going to make a difference.” 

The measure will be considered next by the House. 

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