Oklahoma Medical Cannabis Companies Sue State Over Residency Requirements

Medical cannabis firms in Oklahoma have filed suit against the state over new industry residency requirements and other rules which will spell trouble for some licensees who are already operating in the state.

Full story after the jump.

Several medical cannabis companies in Oklahoma are suing the state over its industry residency requirements and rules requiring the businesses be 1,000 feet from schools, the Oklahoman reports. The Oklahoma legislature passed a measure last session to resolve these issues, but Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt ultimately vetoed the bill saying it was “not fully scrutinized.”

The lawsuit, filed by Tulsa attorney Ron Durbin on behalf of the companies, asks a judge to block the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority from enforcing the laws they say could prohibit some licensed cannabusinesses from continuing to operate. Specifically, the lawsuit is asking a judge to rule that OMMA cannot deny business license renewals if the owners do not meet the two-year residency requirements or if the dispensaries are located within 1,000 feet of a school or preschool. The lawsuit also asks the agency to immediately renew any licenses that were rejected on the residency or location grounds.

Durbin helped craft the medical cannabis industry reform bill vetoed by Stitt. That measure also included some delivery provisions, would have tweaked residency requirements, and permitted dispensaries to stay in their current location if a school is built within 1,000 feet after the business opens.

The lawsuit alleges that rules adopted by OMMA not included in the referendum left “hundreds, if not thousands” of licensed dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school entrance. The plaintiffs argue that they should not have to move their business.

As of May 1, there were 282,511 registered patients in the state, according to state figures outlined by the Marijuana Policy Project. The state’s medical cannabis program is one of the fastest-growing in the country with sales topping $61.4 million in April and totaling $275 million so far this year. MJBizDaily estimates that medical cannabis sales in the state could hit $700 million by the end of the year, keeping pace with more populous states such as Arizona and Florida.

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