Major Changes on the Way for Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Regulator
Beverly Cantrell - October 4, 2021 10:32 am
OKLAHOMA CITY —
A major change is coming for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
The agency has a new boss and a new focus on ramping up enforcement against rulebreakers. This is happening as illegal marijuana grows is overwhelming state investigators.
When Gov. Kevin Stitt named Adria Berry the new executive director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, he said she would address the challenges caused by the explosive growth in that industry over the last three years, including what the state says is a recent increase in illegal grows – particularly across rural Oklahoma. Today, a month into the job, Berry said it’s time for what she called “a hard reset.”
“I’m looking at OMMA and looking at all the good things that have happened in the past three years and looking at the things that need to change,” she said.
Berry appeared Friday at a news conference with her new deputy director.
A major topic was doubling down on enforcing quality rules at dispensaries and processors. But also, busting illegal grows that have been sprouting up in rural areas across the state.
“Knowing that we had such a boom in license numbers since the program started, it was definitely hard for OMMA to keep up with all those inspections, so that’s why we’re staffing up. It’s going to be great. We’re going to have enough people to go out to all 77 counties and inspect every single one,” she said.
More than 40 new compliance officers are set to be hired before the end of the year, along with six new investigators.
The hope is that the new staff will help regulate a booming industry and be ready for the future.
“Between the growth and the way it’s been created, it just set up a situation where we’ve basically built an industry backward and we’re in a good spot now finally to be able to take a breath and look at ways to be proactive,” she said.