Oklahoma extends medical marijuana licensing ban 2 years, hikes enforcement

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Wide-ranging legislation that took effect in Oklahoma this week included a two-year extension of the state’s moratorium on issuing licenses to new medical marijuana businesses.

House Bill 2095, which was signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, extends the MMJ licensing moratorium from Aug. 1, 2024, to Aug. 1, 2026.

The legislation also grants the Oklahoma attorney general’s office, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and the state’s Bureau of Investigation authority over MMJ law enforcement.

State investigators have shuttered hundreds of illegal grow operations since voters in 2018 approved an open-market MMJ program, including no caps on the number of business licenses.

In the past year, state regulators and law enforcement agencies have investigated nearly 3,000 farms, according to Oklahoma City TV station KOKH.

Many of them failed to renew their licenses.

There were fewer than 3,800 licensed growers in Oklahoma on Nov. 1, down from 6,675 registered cultivators in May and a peak of roughly 9,400 growers in early 2021, according to KOKH and MJBizDaily reporting.

Under HB 2095, a grower knowingly employing undocumented immigrants could face up to a year in jail and a $500 fine as well as lose its license, KOKH reported.