Oklahoma medical cannabis regulators won’t rush to enforce new rules

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Oklahoma medical marijuana regulators won’t immediately enforce a stricter two-year residency requirement and a 1,000-foot school buffer zone rule that could put many dispensaries out of business in the fast-growing market.

The state Attorney General’s Office said it won’t enforce the medical marijuana rules until a lawsuit challenging them plays out in court, The Oklahoman reported.

A 1,000-foot school buffer rule had been in effect for some time, but regulators expanded the definition to include preschools and head-start programs, Oklahoma cannabis attorney Sarah Lee Parrish recently told Marijuana Business Daily.

There also have been questions about how to measure the distance.

The medical marijuana business group that filed the suit against the state claimed the new buffer rule could affect hundreds of dispensaries.

As for the stricter residency requirement, businesses issued a medical marijuana license before the law was enacted last summer are exempted, Parrish said.

But companies that applied for licenses between the enactment date of March 15, 2019, and its effective date, Aug. 29, 2019, were in limbo. The governor vetoed legislation that would have fixed that issue.

Parrish said state regulators already have been treating those licensees in a “pending” status and believes discussions to resolve the issue will be successful.