Oklahoma imposes two-year medical marijuana license moratorium

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Oklahoma is enacting a nearly two-year moratorium on new medical marijuana grower, processing and dispensary licenses, beginning Aug. 26, in an effort to catch up with a backlog of work and raise business-compliance levels.

The state has one of the most business-friendly medical cannabis programs in the country, which has resulted in thousands of licensed operators.

But regulators have struggled with curbing illicit marijuana activity and getting businesses to comply with industry regulations, including more stringent rules.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) initially announced that the moratorium would take effect Aug. 1 but then said it made an error in interpreting the effective date of House Bill 3208, the legislation that created the licensing pause.

So that gives prospective MMJ businesses a few more weeks to file applications for licenses before the moratorium kicks in.

Current grower, processor and dispensary licenses and renewals won’t be affected by the moratorium.

As of July, Oklahoma had 7,348 growers, 2,286 dispensaries and 1,433 processors, according to the OMMA.

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The moratorium will expire Aug. 1, 2024, or earlier if OMMA’s executive director determines all pending license reviews, inspections or investigations are complete.

The 2022 MJBiz Factbook projects that medical marijuana sales in Oklahoma will reach $875 million to $1.1 billion this year.