Local Cannabis Industry Responds to Push to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana

KTUL-Tulsa - April 3, 2022 10:00 pm

The U.S. House passed the “MORE” act Friday, which means federally legalized marijuana could be one step closer.

The legislation would expunge prior marijuana convictions and require resentencing hearings for people still serving their sentences.

Oklahoma voters legalized medical cannabis back in 2018.

Now more there are more than 2,300 dispensaries in the state.

“We’ve generated a lot of tax revenue for the State of Oklahoma with cannabis, which I don’t think anybody, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, can disagree that’s something Oklahoma needs,” said Brandon Fountain with Redbud Elixirs.

The legislation would also create a 5% sales tax on marijuana and related products.

That tax would be used for training programs, substance abuse treatment, and loans to help small businesses get into the industry.

Some lawmakers are concerned about the lack of funding for law enforcement.

“None to police. So, what I’m trying to say is, yes, you’ve taken this up. Do it right. Get it right. You have a whole bunch of work that needs to be done to get this bill right,” said Rep. Cliff Bentz, (R) Oregon.

The sales tax is also leading some to ask will it, in turn, raise prices in dispensaries pushing more people to the black market?

“It’s a free market. So free market is going to dictate prices. Oklahoma has some of the lowest prices on cannabis products in the entire country so, no I don’t believe, personally, that it’s going to make the black market worse than it already is,” said Fountain.

The bill is set to be heard by the Senate, but likely won’t pass.

 

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