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Making the cut: Oklahoma governor signs final round of medical cannabis legislation for 2022 session

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Beth Wallis
/
StateImpact Oklahoma
Starter-plants for sale at The Sacred Herb Dispensary on Route 66 in Sapulpa, Okla.

SB1726 – Adds 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."

As the legislature entered its final day of the session on Friday, the long list of cannabis-related legislation had been whittled down to a little over a dozen new bills.

Overall, bolstering the OMMA’s authority, adding regulations to business owners and restructuring the licensure fee process were central themes during this year’s session.

Notably, HB4287 — a bill generating buzz in the industry that would’ve required dispensaries to switch from "deli-style" flower selection to prepackaged cannabis flower — did not pass.

Several of the bills were also aimed at cracking down on the cannabis black market — an issue heightened by multiple large-scale illegal marijuana busts.

Here are the cannabis-related bills that were signed into law this legislative session:

Marijuana business requirements:

HB4056 – Requires 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.

HB3929 – Requires 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 $5,000.

SB1704 – Requires medical marijuana business employees to apply for a credential that authorizes them to work in the business. One or more third-party vendors would manage the credentialing process by conducting background checks, and verifying eligibility and suitability. If the application is not approved, the applicant can appeal the decision to the OMMA.

SB1737 – Requires all commercial growers to post signage at least 18"x24" in size on the perimeter of the grow operation. Signs must include the business name, the physical address of the business, a phone number and the business license number. If a grower fails to put up the required signage within 60 days after their license renewal, the license will be revoked. The bill also requires all commercial growers with outdoor operations to register with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry as an environmentally sensitive crop owner — this provides notice to nearby pesticide applicators in an effort to minimize pesticide drift.

Restructuring 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.

Changing packaging requirements:

HB3019 – Requires 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 – Issues a moratorium on business licensing for a maximum of two years, starting Aug. 1, 2022, or until the OMMA can complete all pending license reviews, inspections and investigations.

HB3971 – Implements 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. Cannabis products found to have contaminants will have a recall issued.

SB1543 – Removes the OMMA as a division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The OMMA would instead function as its own distinct entity.

SB1367 – Does a few things related to punishments for unauthorized transfers of cannabis:

  • 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. 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. 
  • Raises 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.
  • Raises 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).
  • Revokes licenses upon the second incident of businesses, employees or agents fraudulently or inaccurately reporting within a 10-year period. 

Restructuring the licensure process:

HB2179 – Increases the annual license fee for growers based on the size of their canopy; for processors based on the amount of marijuana processed; for dispensaries based on a tax formula, and would implement a flat fee for testing laboratories.

  • All growers pay $2,500 as a base. 
  • Indoor facilities and greenhouses or light deprivation facilities with canopies over 1,667 square feet then pay an additional $2,500 for up to 10,000 square feet of canopy. For 10,001-20,000 square feet, the fee is $5,000. These tiered rates continue, with a maximum fee for 100,000+ square feet of canopy at $50,000, plus 25 cents per additional square foot of canopy. 
  • Canopy is defined as "the total surface area within a cultivation area that is dedicated to the cultivation of flowering marijuana plants."
  • Outdoor grows with canopies over 83,334 square feet pay an additional $2,500 for up to 2.5 acres. For 2.5-5 acres, the fee is $5,000.  These tiered rates continue, with a maximum fee for 50 acres at $40,000, plus $250 per additional acre. 
  • Processors pay an application fee of $2,000 for up to 2,000 pounds of dried marijuana, with an annual fee of $3,500. For 2001-3000 pounds, the application fee increases to $2,500, and the annual fee increases to $5,000. For more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana, the application fee increases to $15,000, and the annual fee increases to $20,000.
  • For dispensaries, in addition to the $2,500 application fee, the annual fee is calculated at 10% of the sum of 12 calendar months of combined annual sales tax and excise tax for the dispensary. The minimum fee must be at least $2,500, and the maximum fee can't exceed $10,000.
  • The annual fee for a testing laboratory license is $20,000.

This article was updated to remove one bill that was not signed into law.

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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