The Oklahoma medical marijuana market continues to evolve. As we enter the new state legislative cycle for 2019, there have been a handful of legislative proposals which have been submitted which, if passed, will impact the Oklahoma medical marijuana market. We felt now would be a great time to start to review these proposed changes to the laws governing the Oklahoma medical marijuana market.
There have a been a variety of proposals submitted to the state legislature that will impact the Oklahoma medical marijuana market which includes a popular “unity proposal”, workplace issues with cannabis, and gun ownership currently being restricted by medical marijuana status. Other proposals have been submitted to change the tax rates on cannabis.
Today we will dive into a few of the most popular proposals and unpack them, let us take a closer look.
A Variety of Proposals for Oklahoma Medical Marijuana
One of the larger proposals, nicknamed the ‘unity proposal’ will introduce a variety of new regulations and establish a new nearly $10 million dollar fund for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to oversee the cannabis industry better. The proposed rules would impact licensed dispensary regulations which include testing, security, and tracking technology being implemented. They also would put heavier regulations on home growers and caregivers. Furthermore, the inclusive proposal will allow veterans to receive a discount for their medical marijuana card. Another important aspect of the unity bill will be to redefine worked place exclusions for Oklahoma medical marijuana patients who had “safety-sensitive job duties”. This proposal has already passed committee and will be debated in front of the entire legislature for review now.
Another One proposal would allow medical marijuana patients to still own a firearm. The Oklahoma medical marijuana gun ownership proposal has passed through committee and is pending a floor vote in the Oklahoma state senate. This controversial proposal has been welcomed with those who support the second amendment. It has also seen multiple different bills add this as a feature to them, suggesting it is something that will indeed pass the state legislature in 2019.
Another proposal calls for increased leniency for local governments to make changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws and open more revenue for the government through a new 7% tax on Oklahoma medical marijuana sales. Taxes will most likely be tied to any proposal which will increase the oversight upon the cannabis industry, something the legislature will consider for this year. Yet, there is a hope that these expensive regulations will hopefully increase the legitimacy of the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry. With increased legitimacy, hopefully, includes protection from the federal government where cannabis remains illegal.
A fourth popular trend of legislature proposals for changes to the existing Oklahoma medical marijuana rules has been to open the choice up for individual counties to choose regulatory decisions themselves. The suggestions have faced industry backlash from business owners who fear their stores, grows, or cannabis processing facilities could be shut down in counties that opt out of the medical marijuana program. So, it is unclear if these types of suggestions will receive support enough to pass but they certainly have been introduced by more than one bill which suggests some levels of support.
Finally, the state seems to be generating a few “hole-in-one” proposals which range in severity. For example, one proposed change to the Oklahoma medical marijuana rules would enact a $500 fine for anyone who used someone else’s medical marijuana credentials to purchase cannabis in the Sooner state. Further to the point of local regulatory oversight, one proposal would allow counties to impose their own fines and punishments for those breaking medical marijuana regulations.
All and all, 2019 should be an exciting year of change for the young Oklahoma medical marijuana industry. We with the Peak Dispensary hope to continue to bring you the latest updates as changes do occur.
Until next week friends, stay well!