Oklahoma should stop issuing new marijuana licenses, report suggests

Lawmakers in Oklahoma should hit pause on the currently unlimited number of medical marijuana business licenses being issued in the state, a legislative report recommends.

According to the Tulsa World, a report from the state Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency suggests that a moratorium on MMJ permits would give authorities a better shot at bringing the industry into compliance, and it appears to be a recommendation that lawmakers are seriously considering.

It’s not clear when such a moratorium could start or which licenses might be paused or capped, but those in consideration include cultivation, processing and retail, the Tulsa World reported.

Among other issues, the legislative office found in its report that 40% of licensed businesses haven’t been paying their state taxes and that noncompliance of industry regulations is a rampant problem.

According to the report, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has a budget increase scheduled, from $11 million to $41 million, and is expecting to hire more enforcement staff.

But to date, the report noted, the agency has not been able to sufficiently police the industry.

Still, OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry told lawmakers recently there’s “no question we can get our arms around and properly regulate this industry,” the Tulsa World reported.

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According to the OMMA website, as of Feb. 15 the state had licensed:

  • 8,170 cultivators.
  • 1,511 processors.
  • 2,194 dispensaries.