Oklahoma Suspends Enforcement Regulations
Posted by Nancy Moraa on 08/10/2020 in News
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
After facing litigation, the Oklahoma AG’s office made an announcement early in July. The announcement stated that the state would temporarily suspend the enforcement of some cannabis business regulations. These regulations threatened to close some medical cannabis dispensaries. This was according to a news report published by The Oklahoman.
With the pending litigation, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the OMMA took notice. The state authority will temporarily stop the enforcement of some medical marijuana laws. These laws would have forced some medical marijuana dispensaries to shut their doors for good.
Dispute Over Safe Distance from Schools and Preschools for Dispensaries in Oklahoma
The temporary halt of regulations happened after some cannabis businesses sued the state. These laws required cannabis business owners to be residents of the state for at least two years. The law also stated that all cannabis dispensaries must be located more than 1000 feet from schools and preschools.
According to The Oklahoman news report, the class-action lawsuit also asks the Oklahoma County district court judge to block the state from enforcing the restricting laws permanently. These two regulations had taken effect back on August 29, 2019.
Putting Them Out Of Business
Now that the lawsuit had found its way through court, the OMMA took notice and agreed not to consider those requirements during license renewal applications. These laws would not be considered under certain circumstances only if the business owner had applied for the license before the new law took effect.
The state regulators will also give some consideration to any license renewal applications that were rejected because of the regulations. It can take years for a dispensary to open, and set up cultivation and processing. The investment is expensive for cannapreneurs. Having “the rules” changed on them after they have made that investment is a point of legitimate contention.
However, for businesses who didn’t apply for the licenses before the new laws took effect, they will have to comply with the new regulations. Some of them might close while others would choose to relocate and follow the rest of the guidelines.
The laws that got passed by Oklahoma’s Legislature back in 2019. It was for further clarifying the State Question 788, which legalized medical marijuana. But, some aspects of the laws raised concern from some cannabis entrepreneurs. They claimed the laws would put them out of business.
The lawsuit states that the legal changes would lead to “hundreds, if not thousands” of licensed dispensaries stopping operations. Also, there are existing business owners who haven’t been residents of Oklahoma for two years. These means that these business owners would lose their business licenses as well.
Trying Time For Dispensaries and Cultivators in OK
One of the companies that were involved in the class-action lawsuit filed was he KC’S Cannabis LLC. This company says it is located more than 2000 feet away from a nearby school. But it is also located within a 1000 feet of the entrance of the dugout of a softball field. That, according to OMMA’s definition, is a school entrance.
State legislators had intended to resolve these issues within this year. But that didn’t happen because Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a great marijuana omnibus bill. He stated that it was “not fully scrutinized” during the final days of the legislative session.
Some businesses will not have their applications for license renewal accepted, if they violate the school zoning ordinance. And that is a big concern to cannabis cultivators and medical dispensaries in Oklahoma. It’s not just a game-changer; it could put them out of business. And finding new commercial locations is hard. Many commercial property managers object to leasing to a cannabis dispensary or manufacturer. Particularly in high-demand communities like Oklahoma City.