Oklahoma Bill Would Pause Further Medical Cannabis Licensing

Looking to combat illegal cannabis grows, Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced a bill to pause new medical cannabis licensing while the industry shores up compliance issues.

Full story after the jump.

A bill proposed in Oklahoma would put a pause on medical cannabis licensing and allow regulators to implement moratoriums as they deem necessary, the Tulsa World reports. State Rep. Rusty Cornwell (R), the bill sponsor, said the legislation is needed as the state “has seen a huge number of commercial medical marijuana grows and facilities flooding” into Oklahoma communities.

“In the initial rush to roll out a system for granting commercial licenses, we’ve failed to enforce their compliance with state law. House Bill 3208 would temporarily pause the issuance of commercial licenses so that we can confirm current operations are complying with the law.” Cornwell to the World

Under the state’s medical cannabis law, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has no authority to inspect businesses before issuing a license. Last October, OMMA Director Adria Berry indicated that the agency would renew its focus on compliance checks and public safety. Less than 40% of Oklahoma’s 8,857 growers and 2,415 processors have been inspected since Oklahoma passed Question 788 in 2018.

Last summer, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) requested $4 million in federal funds to combat illegal cannabis cultivation in the Sooner State as state officials warn that product allegedly grown for the state’s medical cannabis program is being diverted. Last April, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) seized cannabis grown illegally by one of the company’s licensed under the state’s medical cannabis law. OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward said the company was “moving large quantities of marijuana on the black market under the guise” of legal operations.

State Rep. Josh West (R) told the World that 60% or more of cannabis grown with an Oklahoma license is sold illegally.

Currently, the state has no seed-to-sale tracking system due to a lawsuit by businesses that claim the system would allow a single, private-business monopoly.

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