Gov. signs new law; changes to medical marijuana industry

Mike Seals - May 31, 2021 10:45 pm

by: Angela Shen

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The passing of Senate Bill 1033 makes several changes in the medical marijuana industry.

SB 1033 passed 78-12 and was signed into law by the governor.

“It grandfathers in existing businesses as it pertains to the thousand foot school rule where [Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority] or the municipality has made errors,” Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee), one of the bill’s author, said.

The bill also lets businesses transfer licenses if there is a change in ownership. It will let the Oklahoma Tax Commission collect a fee so they can do audits on businesses. Plus, it lets the OMMA work with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics to crack down on illegal businesses.

“This will allow them to enter into a [memorandum of understanding] with [Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs] so that OBN DD can collect revenue from their dollars and hire people to go shut down the nefarious, illegal activity in the industry in the state of Oklahoma,” Fetgatter said.

One attorney who works with dispensaries says this is a step in the right direction.

“We really need to step up in the enforcement aspect, and that’s one thing 1033 does that we’re really, really happy about,” Ronald Durbin with Viridian Legal Services said. “1033 facilitates that ‘boots on the ground inspect’ mantra.”

The owner of one business says while nothing in the bill impacts him directly now, there could be issues down the line.

“I felt like there were some things in here that could be bad down the line, for instance with the transferring of licenses with municipalities being able to decline your request to transfer your license based on a certain criteria,” Corbin Wyatt with Likewise Cannabis said. “Right now, that criteria looks like it’s based entirely on whether or not you’re within a thousand feet of a school, but with a lot of the verbiage shifting out of the current act and into the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, it seems like that could be easier to change down the road for a municipality to be able to reject a transfer.”

The new law, which went into effect immediately after the governor signed it, also says caregivers can only grow marijuana for five patients.

The bill also protects doctors, stating they can’t be punished for issuing medical marijuana cards, as long as it’s done according to law.

 

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