A guide to the Oklahoma Legislature's newest round of cannabis bills
Oklahoma lawmakers are whittling down the list of medical marijuana bills that will ultimately get passed during this session. The focus of the remaining bills ranges from increased regulations on cannabis businesses, altering the licensure process, bolstering the OMMA and changing the structure of where cannabis revenue dollars go.
But first, where do the bills go from here?
Last Thursday was the deadline for bills to get passed in the committee of the opposite chamber of the bill’s origin. While many made it through, most will need to go back to their chamber of origin for amendments to be approved.
Several bills also had their titles or enacting clauses stricken and will go to conference committees. If those bills are agreed upon by conference committees, committee reports for the bills are sent to the originating chamber and then the opposite chamber for approval or rejection. Upon approval, the bill is read on the floor. Upon rejection, the bill can go back to the conference committee.
Here are some of the bills that advanced from the opposite chamber’s committee:
* denotes amended
† denotes title or enacting clause stricken
Marijuana business requirements:
- HB2025*– Would require all marijuana businesses and facilities to display their OMMA-issued license in a conspicuous place. It must be viewable from the street nearest to the entrance of the site of the grow facility.
- HB3827*†– Would require all medical marijuana commercial grower licensees with an outdoor production facility to register with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry as an environmentally sensitive crop owner. Registration would provide notice to nearby pesticide applicators, with the goal of minimizing pesticide drift.
- HB4056*†- Would require a private laboratory under contract with OMMA to provide a list of recommendations for marijuana testing equipment, as well as testing standards and operating procedures. Beginning in June 2024, laboratories renewing their licenses and new laboratories looking to obtain a license will have to be in compliance with the determined standards.
- HB3752– Would make it illegal for a grow property owner to abandon the property without first restoring the land to its original condition.
- SB1697*- Would require marijuana growers to acquire a bond before receiving their license or license renewal for the purpose of land reclamation. Every applicant would have to file a bond of at least $25,000 with the OMMA. The OMMA may request a higher amount if reclaiming the land after the grow facility vacates is expected to be more difficult.
- SB1693*- Would require commercial grower and processor applicants and licensees to obtain a water use permit from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board if they use water from groundwater or an Oklahoma stream, as well as obtaining and registering an official statement of permission from the political subdivision that provides the water if using rural or municipal water.
- HB3929*†- Would require the OMMA to develop standards for process validation. Process validation would be voluntary and would require licensees to use the seed-to-sale system, meet testing requirements and pay an annual fee of $2,500.
Packaging and selling requirements:
- HB4287*†– Requires processors and growers to sell marijuana only in pre-packaged form. Displaying marijuana and smelling would still be allowed, but “deli-style” sales would no longer be allowed. Package sizes can range from a half-gram to three ounces.
- HB4288*†- Would require all perishable marijuana products to be labeled with a maximum six-month expiration date or use-by date if the product hasn’t gone through stability testing. It also requires the OMMA to establish stability testing standards by Nov. 1, 2022.
- HB3019*†- Would require purchased marijuana leaving a dispensary to be contained in an exit package, which is described as an opaque bag. It would also require marijuana containers to be printed with “For use by licensed medical marijuana patients only,” and “Keep out of reach of children,” on the container. The container may be clear.
Bolstering OMMA and enforcement:
- HB3208*†– Would issue a moratorium on business licensing for either two years or until the OMMA can complete all pending license reviews, inspections and investigations.
- HB3971*†– Would implement a secret shopper program in which employees from the OMMA would purchase marijuana from dispensaries and send it to labs to test for contaminants and potency.
- HB3813*†– Would designate OMMA inspectors as law enforcement and allow them to aid and assist in enforcement and prosecutions.
- HB4411*†– Would mandate the OMMA to administer a minimum of one inspection per year for marijuana businesses and licensed facilities.
- HB4055*†– Would require public utility companies to submit monthly reports to the OMMA of how much water, electricity and/or other public utilities are being used by commercial growers.
- SB1543*- Would remove the OMMA as a division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The OMMA would instead function as its own distinct entity.
- Would raise the penalty for purchases or transfers of value of medical marijuana by a marijuana business, its employees or agents of the business to unauthorized persons. For the first offense, the fine is $5,000 (up from $1,000) and $15,000 (up from $5,000) for subsequent violations occurring within a one-year timeframe.
- Would raise the penalty for marijuana patients to share or sell marijuana to unauthorized persons. For the first offense, the fine is $400 (up from $200). For the second offense, the fine is $1,000 (up from $500), and the offender will have their license permanently revoked.
- Would raise the penalty for marijuana patients, caregivers, businesses or employees that share or sell marijuana to an unauthorized minor. For the first offense, the fine is $2,500 (up from a citation). For subsequent offenses, the offender is subject to a citation and fine of $5,000 (no change).
- Would revoke licenses upon the second incident of businesses, employees or agents fraudulently or inaccurately reporting within a 10-year period.
- Would raise the penalty for purchases or transfers of value of medical marijuana by a marijuana business, its employees or agents of the business to unauthorized persons. For the first offense, the fine is $5,000 (up from $1,000) and $15,000 (up from $5,000) for subsequent violations occurring within any two-year timeframe.
- Would raise the penalty for marijuana businesses or employees to share or sell marijuana to unauthorized persons. For the first violation, the fee is $5,000 (up from $1,000). For the second violation, the fee is $15,000 (up from $5,000).
- Would allow the OMMA, after investigation, to revoke the license of anyone directly involved with sharing or selling marijuana to unauthorized persons.
- Would allow the OMMA to revoke business licenses associated with the sharing or selling of marijuana to unauthorized persons, and any entity with common ownership.
- Would raise the fine for grossly inaccurate or fraudulent reporting. For the first offense, the fine is $5,000 (no change) and $15,000 (up from $10,000) for subsequent violations occurring within any two-year timeframe.
- Would revoke licenses upon the second incident of businesses, employees or agents fraudulently or inaccurately reporting occurring within a 10-year period.
Restructuring the licensure process:
- HB2179*†- Would increase the annual license fee for growers based on the size of their canopy. All growers would pay $2,500 as a base. Indoor facilities and greenhouses or light deprivation facilities with canopies over 1,667 square feet would then pay an additional $1.50 per square foot. Outdoor grows with canopies over 83,334 square feet would pay an additional $0.03 per square foot. A canopy is defined as “the total surface area within a cultivation area that is dedicated to the cultivation of flowering marijuana plants.”
- HB3634†– Would create a wholesaler tier of licensing to deal with sales and distribution channels of marijuana.
Would require all commercial grows, processors, dispensaries or transporters seeking licensure to first apply for a temporary business license.
- The temporary license is a conditional license and doesn’t authorize any selling, growing, processing or transporting of marijuana.
- Temporary businesses licenses are valid for 180 days from their effective date. This can be extended by additional 90-day periods, up to 18 months, if: an application for an annual license has been submitted before the expiration date of the temporary license, or if the OMMA decides the application and documentation submitted by the applicant is somehow deficient.
- The fee for a temporary business license is $1,000. An additional $1,000 will be assessed for every granted 90-day extension.
- To obtain a temporary license, business owners would need to disclose all relevant financial information, all sources for utility usage and evidence of insurance. Required information includes: a list of funds in savings, checking or other accounts belonging to the applicant, as well as the account number and amount of money in the account; a list of every individual with a financial interest in the business; and a detailed diagram of the premises with camera placement identification.
The fee for an annual business license is $1,500.
- If the application is rejected, the applicant can be granted an extension and assessed a $1,000 fee for every extension.
- Currently licensed businesses have 90 days after the date of renewal to submit the aforementioned newly required financial, utility and insurance documentation to the OMMA. Businesses are required to annually submit updated information.
- Would require that a temporary or annual medical marijuana transporter license be issued to qualifying applicants for dispensaries, commercial growers or processors. The temporary or annual transporter license would be issued at the time of approval of the dispensary, commercial grower or processor license.
- SB1755*- Would require that licenses cannot be issued until all relevant local licenses and permits have been issued by the municipality, and all necessary inspections have been done. Would also allow applicants to obtain a conditional license if they haven’t obtained all necessary permits from their municipality and completed necessary inspections. A conditional license does not allow the applicant to operate as a licensed business.
- SB1726*- Would add commercial grow facilities to the list of new marijuana businesses that must establish themselves at least 1,000 from a public or private school. It would also add technology centers primarily used for classroom instruction to the definition of “school.”
- SB1841*- Would allow the OMMA to deny licensure applications, suspend or revoke business licenses due to any violation of state law, any violations of a regulation applicable to the operation of a marijuana business or inaccurate reporting or disclosures to municipal governments.
Restructuring marijuana tax revenue:
- HB3530*†- Creates the County Sheriff Public Safety Grant Revolving Fund, which would be used for law enforcement relating to marijuana. It would be funded by money received by the OMMA, as well as any federal funds, grants or donations from public or private sources.
- SB1848*†- Would change marijuana sales tax apportionments. It would be divided as follows: 35.7% (up from 34.62%) to the OMMA Revolving Fund for operations, up to $23,600,000; 44.625% (down from 59.23%) to the State Public Common School Building Equalization Fund; 14.875% (up from 6.15%) to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, up to $10 million; and 4.8% to the County Sheriff Public Safety Grant Revolving Fund, up to $3,200,000.