The Oklahoma Senate last week approved a bill to make the state Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) a freestanding state agency, moving it out of the state Health Department, The Oklahoman reports. The measure still needs to be signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) before becoming law.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (R), one of the bill’s co-authors, said in January that the move was needed as OMMA was “shielded from proper oversight on its budget” under the purview of the Department of Health. If Stitt signs the bill, the executive director of the OMMA will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
Treat said while under the Health Department, the OMMA has “been inhibited in its ability to truly become an enforcer of the rules and regulations that I think Oklahomans expect it to be.”
The bill’s passage is the latest move aimed at reigning in the state’s cannabis industry as claims mount that illegal cultivation is occurring under the guise of medical cannabis operations. In March, regulators announced that seed-to-sale technology would be implemented in the state within 90 days following the settlement of a lawsuit that claimed to require the tech was a violation of antitrust laws. Lawmakers are also considering a bill to pause all cannabis cultivation licensing in the state while it shores up compliance issues.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reported that from April 2021 through Feb. 9, 2022, it disbanded 85 farms that were operating without state approval
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