Just as with criminal justice bills, the 2022 legislative session brought several changes to cannabis laws in Oklahoma—both for businesses and customers. In total, 12 new cannabis laws in Oklahoma were signed into law by the governor ranging from labeling requirements to licensing. Below are seven of the most notable bills that are now part of this state’s constantly expanding list of cannabis-related laws.
This bill requires all prospective employees of medical marijuana businesses to apply for a credential that permits them to work for the business. The credentialing process will be handled by third-party vendors who will perform background checks and verify eligibility. Applicants who are not approved can choose to appeal the decision to the OMMA.
The bill also allows OMMA to revoke the license of anyone proven to be diverting medical marijuana. Additionally, OMMA can revoke the license of any business associated with diverting the product.
A relatively pointless yet somewhat consequential bill, HB3019 requires dispensaries to ensure that any product leaving the business be placed in an opaque “exit bag.” Containers of marijuana must be printed with “For use by licensed medical marijuana patients only,” and “Keep out of reach of children,” on the outside of the container, which may be clear.
Signed into law in early June, HB3208 issued a moratorium to the OMMA on the processing of applications received for new licenses sought by prospective medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensary operators. The moratorium is set to take effect on August 1, 2022, and is expected to remain in place through August 2024—or until the OMMA can successfully complete the backlog of any and all pending license reviews, inspections, and related investigations.
One of the more interesting cannabis bills to emerge from this legislative session, HB3971 implements a secret shopper program of sorts that involves OMMA staffers purchasing marijuana from dispensaries. The employees will then send the product to labs to test for things like contaminants and actual potency. Any products found to have contaminants will be subject to a recall.
Another archaic law harkening back to Oklahoma’s antiquated alcohol laws, SB1726 requires commercial grow facilities to be at least 1,000 feet from a public or private school. The law also classifies any technology center primarily used for classroom instruction as a “school,” which in turn means new cannabis businesses must also remain 1,000 feet away.
A bill primarily sought by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, SB1737 requires all commercial marijuana growers to post signage at least 18”x24” in size on the perimeter of their grow operation. The sign must include the business’s name, the business’s physical address, a phone number, and the business’s license number. Growers who neglect to post this signage within 60 days after their license renewal will have it revoked.
Furthermore, the bill also requires outdoor growing operations to register with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry as an environmentally sensitive crop owner. This aspect is intended to give nearby farmers proper notice to avoid pesticide drift from their farms reaching the grow operation’s outdoor crops.
On a related note, SB1261, which aimed to limit compensation for marijuana plants damaged by unintentional herbicide spray drift to growers insurable under the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation program, failed to pass in the House. Farmers and ranchers in certain areas have been hesitant to apply herbicides on their property out of fears the drift would reach nearby grow operations. Look for a similar bill to be brought during the 2023 legislative session.
This bill altered punishments for unauthorized transfers of cannabis in the following ways:
- Raises 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. First offenses trigger fines of $5,000 (up from $1,000), with $15,000 (up from $5,000) for any subsequent violations occurring within a one-year timeframe.
- Raises the penalty for marijuana patients to share or sell marijuana to unauthorized persons. First offenses trigger a fine of $400 (up from $200). Second offenses trigger a fine of $1,000 (up from $500), with the offender having their license revoked permanently.
- Raises the penalty for marijuana patients, caregivers, businesses, or employees that share or sell marijuana to an unauthorized minor. First offenses trigger a fine of $2,500 (up from a citation). Subsequent offenses subject the offender to a citation and fine of $5,000 (no change from before).
- Revokes licenses upon the second incident of businesses, employees, or agents fraudulently or inaccurately reporting within a 10-year period.
Overman Legal Group is the preeminent firm in Oklahoma for cannabis law. Our experienced team is uniquely tuned in to this new and fast-moving industry and has represented and advised numerous clients since the first day it became legal. If you are interested in starting a new cannabis business or have questions about your current one, our attorneys can provide you with the answers you need to make sure that you are in compliance with rapidly changing cannabis laws in Oklahoma like the ones above. Likewise, Overman Legal Group’s skilled commercial litigators will help you protect your business after organizing it in a way that best suits your particular needs.