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Where does medical marijuana stand in the Oklahoma legislature?

Marijuana plants in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren
/
AP
Several medical marijuana bills made their way through committees this week that would reign in and regulate the industry.

When it comes to marijuana policy, Oklahoma has been dubbed a “Wild West.”

With the relatively low cost of starting a business, few regulations on facility placement and the ease of obtaining a medical card, the Sooner State has become a prime destination for businesses looking to cash in on the Green Rush. Compared to Colorado — a state with legal medical and recreational marijuana — Oklahoma has nearly seven times the number of grow licensees.

While Oklahoma’s booming free market of medical marijuana is good for the weed business, lawmakers this session are trying to reign in the budding industry, citing entanglement with the black market, strains on rural utility systems and major problems with enforcement.

Here are some bills that passed committees this week at the Oklahoma State Legislature:

  • SB1718 - Would address problems with managing the booming commercial grow market by freezing OMMA’s ability to approve commercial grow license applications until it can conduct inspections and audits of all current licensed operations. Headed to the Appropriations Committee.
  • SB1726 - Would add technology centers to the list of school buildings that dispensaries and grows must be at least 1,000 feet from. Headed to the Senate Floor.
  • SB1543 - Would make OMMA a separate agency from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Headed to the Appropriations Committee.
  • SB1779 - Would require medical marijuana businesses to post signage outside of their facilities listing their license and phone numbers. Headed to the Senate Floor.

Medical marijuana will continue to be a major focus of this year’s legislative session, with over 80 marijuana-related bills filed. Some bills to keep an eye on as the session progresses: HB2987 and HB2989, which may present significant hurdles in setting up new facilities; HB3754, which would legalize recreational marijuana — termed “adult access” in the bill; and several bills that would establish an outright moratorium on issuing new business licenses.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Beth reports on education topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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