Oklahoma lawmakers weigh restrictions on medical marijuana businesses

Women, minority execs show few gains in U.S. cannabis industry, according to the latest data from the MJBiz Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Report. Get your copy here.

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.

Get the MJBizDaily Extraction Buyers Guide, now available.

This free resource offers practical business tips and valuable insights from cannabis extraction professionals to help plan or scale your extraction or processing operation with confidence.

Inside the MJBizDaily Extraction Buyers Guide:
  • In-depth guidance for planning a CBD extraction business
  • Best practices in sourcing solvents + solventless materials
  • Lessons in shopping for extraction/processing equipment
  • Tips for outfitting a facility for psilocybin mushroom extraction
  • And more!

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.