As we have highlighted over the last few weeks, the Oklahoma state government diligently worked to pass sweeping new regulations for the medical marijuana market. The bill was officially signed by Governor Kevin Stitt on March 15th, 2019. With this signature, the bill will officially become Oklahoma law and with that will bring a set of sweeping changes to the medical marijuana industry including new requirements for testing and new packaging requirements. We will highlight the major of these c
Lawsuit Filed by Former Health Department Attorney
A former Oklahoma Health Department attorney has filed a lawsuit against the newly passed Unity Bill. The attorney who filed these charges stated that the Unity Bill regulatory changes are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a registered nurse and owner of an Oklahoma City medical marijuana dispensary. With that, they hope to stop
The lawsuit goes after the Health Department and the State of Oklahoma as defendants. The lawsuit claims that the Unity Bill is simply too vague with its wording. While at the same time, the Unity bill gives the Health Department too much leeway with disciplinary powers. Specifically, the bill gives the Oklahoma medical marijuana regulatory agency a list of powers to take disciplinary action against businesses with sweeping language, “with the final provision being “any other basis” for action that the department identifies.” The claim against the Unity Bill states that such sweeping regulatory powers sidestep due process.
Furthermore, the Nurse also a part of the lawsuit against the Unity Bill states that she could be terminated from her job for testing positive for medical marijuana. This was a concern we highlighted in a blog entry last week and one that clearly still remains today. The regulations allow certain job positions as to be deemed as “safety-sensitive,” depending upon the discretion of the employer. This is troubling since cannabis can stay in your system up to four weeks after it has been consumed and there are fears this will lead to abuses by employers who may employ medical marijuana patients.
Unity Bill Changes to Oklahoma Medical Marijuana
The Unity bill brings a variety of change to the Oklahoma medical marijuana market. Many of which will not directly affect consumers and will actually provide consumers with extra protections with new industry requirements. While these new laws are pending a lawsuit against them, it should be seen a road bump for these sweeping regulations that were signed into law last week.
While these regulatory changes are pending a lawsuit before they will become official law, we felt it would be a good thing to review what exactly is changing with the passage of the Unity Bill?
First, the bill will require more sweeping testing requirements for cannabis growers and manufacturers. This includes a new requirement that will mandate products be tested for THC levels, pesticides, terpene levels, and heavy metals. We support these regulatory changes because medical marijuana should be safe for the patients using it.
Another change brought about by the Unity Bill will be with regards to packaging labels. With the passage of the Unity Bill, manufacturers will be required to use no other images other than their business name, logos, and product images. The packages will also be required to have a universal THC symbol, the level of potency within the product, and finally a statement regarding the newly required testing for contaminants.
Finally, the state also included a portion in the bill which will require a seed-to-sale tracking system for cannabis products. Many of these changes will have more of an impact on businesses and should lead to a safer Oklahoma medical marijuana market for patients.
As always, we with The Peak Dispensary are happy to answer any questions you may have! Until next time, stay well!