Gov. Stitt has signed a bill extending the marijuana grower license moratorium, said Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale. The new law also gives other state agencies power to inspect and investigate marijuana businesses, he said.
On May 2nd, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed HB 2095. It goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2023. Here is a summary of the new law:
MORATORIUM ON NEW GROWER LICENSES EXTEND TO 2024
Last year, the Legislature passed a law imposing a moratorium on new marijuana grower, dispensary and processor licenses. That pause in licensing was set to end Aug. 1, 2024. HB 2095 extends the moratoriums ending date to Aug. 1, 2026.
ONE GROWER LICENSE PER PROPERTY
The new law will allow only one grower license per property. No grandfather clause is provided.
NATIONAL FINGERPRINT-BASED CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIRED
Since the beginning of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program, only an Oklahoma criminal background check had to be done for business license applicants. And, the check could be done with just a name, social security number and date of birth. But that will change beginning November 1st, said Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale. A national fingerprint-based criminal history will be required for new and renewing license applications.
PERMANENT LICENSE REVOCATION AND BAN FOR NOT PAYING TAXES
If any medical marijuana business intentionally fails to remit tax payments as required by law, then the OMMA “shall permanently revoke the medical marijuana business license of the business.” Additionally, the licensee will be banned from getting any other marijuana business license. That ban includes grower, dispensary, processor, transporter, research, education, and waste disposal licenses.
MARIJUANA OVERSIGHT POWERS EXPANDED TO OSBI, OBN AND ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE
The new law also will allow the OMMA to work with other state agencies to enforce marijuana laws and regulations. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) , and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office will have:
- Full authority to investigate and enforce any violations of the laws regarding medical marijuana.
- All powers and authority as state peace officers.
- Ability to seize, destroy, confiscate, embargo, or place an administrative hold on any marijuana or marijuana product not properly logged in inventory records or untraceable product not required to be in the system, altered or improperly packaged, or illegally held.
- Authority to perform on-site inspections or investigations of a licensee or applicant for any medical marijuana business license. Additionally, they may inspect records and interview persons associated with entities to determine compliance with OMMA requirements and applicable laws, rules and regulations.
- Power to subpoena documents needed to establish the personal identifying information of all owners an ownership interest a marijuana business if, upon reasonable suspicion, “that a medical marijuana business licensee is illegally growing, processing, transferring, selling, disposing, or diverting marijuana.”
- Authority to perform an annual unannounced, on-site inspection of the operations and any facility of the licensee.
HIRING ILLEGAL ALIENS MADE A MISDEMEANOR CRIME FOR GROWERS
HB 2095 makes it a crime for licensed medical marijuana growers to hire or employ illegal aliens to work: 1) inside a grow facility, or 2) anywhere on the property of a grow operation. The penalty for violating this law is up to one year in county jail and / or a fine of up to $500. Additionally, the license of the grower will be subject to revocation and the OMMA may deny future license applications.
WORKING WITH CALE LAW OFFICE
The Cale Law Office is dedicated to the practice of criminal defense and medical marijuana law. Our mission is to achieve the best possible results for our clients through hard work, attention to detail, and aggressive representation. This is done while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime or needs representation in OMMA or OBN matters, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314. Your initial consultation is free.