Growers File Class-Action Lawsuit Against OMMA, Cite Regulatory Procedures
News 9 - August 4, 2022 6:05 am
OKLAHOMA CITY –
Oklahoma’s cannabis industry is at odds with the state.
Two attorneys who represent several growers from across the state have taken steps to hit the OMMA and Metrc with a class action lawsuit.
The lawsuit stems from their decision to contract Metrc to implement their seed-to-sale program. Those in the industry believe Metrc isn’t prepared to handle the job.
Oklahoma cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries are caught in a sticky situation. New product test protocols are keeping thousands of dollars of product off dispensary shelves.
JKJ Processing has shelves filled with marijuana and gummies but aren’t able to sell the product.
“We are still waiting for 15 days because there is such a backlog,” said John Koumbis, HTE Owner.
Koumbis said he has about $100,000 of product on his shelves and about $40,000 of it is still waiting for a green light from the state.
“It’s just frustrating, I mean my inbox blows up with patients [asking] ‘why don’t they carry your product?’ [These are] products that aren’t available, that they use as medicine,” said Koumbis.
He’s not the only cannabis processor who has to watch his products pile up. Oklahoma’s’ industry has grown bigger than Colorado, Oregon and California combined.
“Once Metrc was implemented, the wait times went up exponentially and there were issues and there continues to be issues with the test results being available through the Metrc system,” said attorney Felina Rivera with Rennaissance Legal Solutions PLLC. “There were dozens of people who were on hold for three or four hours. [They] maybe got ahold of OMMA and they said you need to call Metrc, or they got ahold of Metrc and [were told] to call OMMA.”
Oklahoma City based Felina Rivera and Tulsa based attorney Amber Peckio Garrett have spearheaded the class action lawsuit against OMMA and Metrc.
The crux of the lawsuit focuses on the fact that the system has been implemented inappropriately. They say there was not adequate staffing to help business owners understand, appreciate and follow the rules laid out by the OMMA. They say their clients have lost thousands of dollars.
OMMA issued a statement on the delays:
“We find this issue most often results from licensees entering testing samples into Metrc incorrectly. When licensees don’t enter testing samples correctly, Metrc puts a hold on their product. When this happens, Metrc must work with the licensee and OMMA to verify testing was done properly, which can lead to delays. As we continue to work with Metrc to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, we encourage licensees to review all user guidelines, Metrc bulletins and the searchable Metrc Implementation FAQs page on our website to ensure they are following the right processes.”
“Every time we call, it’s we’ll submit a work ticket. We’ll submit a work ticket. We’re still waiting,” said Koumbis.
Whether it’s user error or not, Koumbis said the delays are running out the clock.
“Every day is another day that you’re losing a shelf-life day.”
The lawsuit is still in the process of getting class action status but Rivera says they plan to move forward with the lawsuits regardless.