Republican Lawmakers Unveil Medical Marijuana Regulations | Oklahoma News

By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma House Republicans on Monday unveiled a set of new restrictions on the state’s booming medical marijuana industry, designed to crack down on illegal growers who sell cannabis on the market. black.

The 12-point plan includes standardization of lab testing and equipment, more inspections of grow facilities, separate licensing for marijuana wholesalers and strict new requirements for reporting marijuana use. electricity and water by the producers. A proposal would also make the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority an autonomous agency, not a division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“If you’re an illegal operator in Oklahoma, your time is up,” said Rep. Scott Fetgatter, a Republican from Okmulgee and a member of the House Republican Medical Marijuana Task Force.

The marijuana industry has been booming in Oklahoma since voters in 2018 approved one of the most liberal medical programs in the country. It’s easy for patients to get a two-year medical license, and nearly 10 percent of the state’s population is now allowed to buy and use marijuana. Unlike other states, there are also no restrictions on the number of dispensaries or grow licenses, and the low cost of entry into the industry has led to a flood of pot entrepreneurs out of of the state seeking to take advantage of the boom.

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But the low barriers to entry and loose regulatory environment have also led to a huge increase in the number of illegal operators, according to law enforcement.

Last month, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics announced one of the largest marijuana busts in the state involving more than 200 federal, state and local agents and a dozen grow operations. Officers seized more than 100,000 plants and thousands of pounds of bulk processed marijuana destined for other states, including California, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas.

Even professionals in the medical marijuana industry agree there should be stricter enforcement, said Chip Paul, a marijuana processor who helped draft the state’s voter-approved question in 2018.

“Absolutely, I think the industry generally feels like things are too loose at the back,” Paul said. “But we don’t necessarily need more regulation. We just need our current regulations to be enforced.”

Paul, who operates a marijuana processing facility in the Tulsa area, said he’s had a license since 2018 and underwent his first state inspection last week.

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