Oklahoma lawmakers weigh restrictions on medical marijuana businesses

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Oklahoma House Republican legislators pitched a 12-point plan to tighten up one of the country’s most business-friendly medical marijuana markets with a goal of curbing illicit activity.

The plan, reported by the Associated Press and other media outlets, comes only weeks after law enforcement agencies seized roughly $500 million worth of illicit marijuana as part of a yearlong investigation.

“If you’re an illegal operator in Oklahoma, your time is up,” said Republican Rep. Scott Fetgatter, a member of a legislative MMJ working group.

The comprehensive plan, according to Lawton TV station KSWO and the Associated Press, includes:

  • Increased inspections of grow facilities.
  • A grant program for county sheriff’s departments to fund law enforcement efforts in all 77 of the state’s counties.
  • The implementation of a seed-to-sale tracking system. That’s already in the works, with MMJ businesses facing a May 26 deadline to become compliant with a Metrc tracking system after a negotiated agreement resolved a legal challenge.
  • Standardized laboratory testing and equipment.
  • Enhanced product packaging standards.
  • Pre-license inspections and increased document requirements.
  • Stringent new reporting requirements on electric and water use by growers.
  • Making the current regulatory agency, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, a stand-alone entity instead of a division of the state health department.

Oklahoma, which legalized medical marijuana sales in 2018 through a voter referendum, has been known as one of the most business-friendly MMJ programs in the nation with unlimited licensing.

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As of Feb. 7, Oklahoma had 12,021 licensed MMJ businesses, including 8,137 growers, 2,232 dispensaries, 1,508 processors, 103 transporters and 29 laboratories, according to OMMA data.

The MJBiz Factbook projected sales would reach between $1 billion and $1.25 billion this year.

But law enforcement agencies say the lax regulatory environment has led to a boom in illicit operations.