As the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry continues to steamroll forward, the laws around this new industry continue to evolve. Earlier this month the Governor signed in a new law adding additional regulations to the young Oklahoma medical marijuana industry. While these changes mostly affect cannabis cultivators within the state, they have drawn criticism from some in the community. With that in mind, a local Tulsa attorney has filed a lawsuit against the state for part of the new requirements put into place by this bill becoming law. With the Oklahoma medical marijuana sector being so young, it should be expected to see regulatory changes come into play. Further, it’s not terribly uncommon for parts of new laws to be challenged in court to ensure any new regulations put into place are indeed constitutionally sound laws. With that in mind, we will dive into the topic further by reviewing the new legislation which was passed and also takes a moment to see what is being pushed by one Tulsa attorney challenging the law.
New Legislation Signed by Governor Kevin Stitt
According to Tulsa World, the new regulations which were signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt earlier this month would make changes to the unity bill. As we previously discussed, the Unity Bill offered a sweeping set of regulatory changes, most of which affected cannabis businesses more so than consumers. To that point, there were a few portions of the Unity bill which actually pushed for more consumer protections to be in place for Oklahoma medical marijuana patients. The Unity Bill really did present a fair addition to the existing Oklahoma medical marijuana laws in place.
The new regulations, however, took portions of the Unity Bill a bit further, such as requiring commercial cannabis growers to use waste management companies who would be pre-approved by the state. The state hoped to protect the home growers with the language used in the bill but other portions of the bill have come under scrutiny since it was passed. The odd portion of this newly signed law is a limit which has been imposed on the number of licensed waste disposal companies which will be permitted to handled wasted cannabis product. While this number could be increased in the next year, if there is demand, it has already drawn a lot of criticism. With that said, the state did work with an industry trade group known as the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association. Despite working with an industry trade group to finalize the language in the bill, there has been enough criticism of this bill to draw a legal challenge.
Tulsa Attorney Sues State Over New Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Law
With the recent changes to the Unity Bill officially signed into law, there now is a new requirement for commercial cannabis companies to dispose of their medical marijuana waste through a specific and pre-approved company. Tulsa Attorney Ron Durbin argues these new requirements open the doorway for abuses of political power and could lead to campaign contributions being made for the wrong reasons, simply to secure one of the limited licenses. While there is a strong argument to be made that this artificial limit of ten disposal companies may seem odd, it is fairly reasonable to see requirements about how companies are to deal with cannabis waste. With this case headed to the courts, it will have to be decided at a later date.
In closing, we should expect more changes to come to the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry in the comings months. The new industry has spawned a wonderful economic boom for the Sooner State and hopefully will continue to do so even as new regulations are passed. Further, it is exciting to see the industry becoming more legitimate, even if that process has to go through the courts to be finalized. All and all, we are big fans of any regulatory change which supports the rights of Oklahoma medical marijuana patients. While the odd limits on disposal licenses here may be something to reconsider, it certainly is best practice to have any cannabis waste properly and efficiently destroyed, especially cannabis waste grown by a commercial operation. With that said, we will have to see how this case turns out in the courts.
As always, if you ever have any questions about Oklahoma medical marijuana, feel free to stop in at The Peak Dispensary and we are happy to help where we can!