Oklahoma Supreme Court Declines to Hear Lawsuit Challenging Medical Cannabis Business Fees

The Oklahoma Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit that challenges medical cannabis business fee hikes in the state, arguing that the licensing fees — despite the lawsuit’s claims — are not considered an illegal tax.

Full story after the jump.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has declined to take up a lawsuit that challenged medical cannabis business fee hikes, KOCO News 5 reports. According to court documents from a July 25 state Supreme Court filing, a judge said the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) licensing fees are not a tax but are used to compensate the agency for regulating the medical cannabis industry. 

The plaintiffs, led by Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action and three cannabis companies, argue that the increases are unconstitutional because the law is a revenue-raising measure and lawmakers did not follow the rules governing the passage of such measures. Under the new law, annual fees are assessed through a tiered licensing program that ranges from the current $2,500 to more than $50,000.   

In its response to the lawsuit, the state claimed, “The rapid expansion of the industry has provided opportunities for organized crime, and the boom has made it difficult for regulators to keep up.” 

“To address the oversupply of marijuana in the State, the Legislature enacted House Bill 2179 to raise some of Oklahoma’s uniquely low licensing fees to a level in line with that of other states,” the state argued.     

The lawsuit will be sent back down to the District Court of Oklahoma County, which will have the final say. 

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