Oklahoma Update: Medical Marijuana Authority's Comment Period For Rules, How Will This Affect MMJ?

Governor Kevin Stitt recently announced that via a special election Oklahomans will be able to vote on the legalization of adult-use cannabis. March 7, 2023, will be the big day.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) announced a one-month comment period for permanent rules affecting the MMJ industry, which closes at 5 p.m. on December 15.

Although the rules are largely unchanged, they "combine OMMA’s permanent rules that took effect Sept. 11, along with emergency rules that took effect this summer,” according to the state agency.

Business entities affected by the proposed rules are encouraged to provide detailed information on revenue losses or cost increases, direct or indirect, expected due to compliance, reported Tulsa World.

After the close of public comment, OMMA will compile a summary with an explanation of changes or lack of any changes made in the proposed rules.

Cannabis Business Licenses

In May, the governor signed a measure that put the issuing of new medical marijuana grower, dispensary and processor licenses on a two-year hold.

The moratorium began Aug. 1 for new business licenses, affecting processors, dispensaries and commercial growers, and runs until August 2024 or earlier if the OMMA’s executive director determines the agency has caught up on pending reviews, inspections and investigations.

Oklahoma Baptists Against Recreational Legalization Speak Out

Meanwhile, a few weeks after Gov. Stitt declared the special election allowing Oklahomans to vote on Question 820, Southern Baptists spoke out against it. They expressed alarm at the "rapid advance and acceptance" of cannabis throughout the state.

However, Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action is helping educate Oklahomans on what they will be voting on when they go to the polls next March. "Marijuana is here. It has been here, and it's going to continue to be here," said Jed Green, a member group.

If State Question 820 becomes law, it will legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana for adults over 21, overturn cannabis convictions and enable those people affected to have their criminal records expunged.

“Part of the motivation to legalize cannabis is because too many lives have been ruined (through incarceration), and that’s something voters can understand,” said Jared Moffat, the state campaigns manager for the Marijuana Policy Project.

“I think it’s going to be important for the campaign in Oklahoma to educate voters about how they are trying to create a responsible system of regulations and give the state more control over the sale and production of cannabis that is already happening, then voters become more comfortable with it,” according to Moffat, who added that the criminal justice reform aspect of the initiative could be “critical to getting voter support, especially in a state like Oklahoma, which has high incarceration rates.”

SQ 820 will also generate state revenue for essential priorities, including schools, health care, local governments as well as regulate the industry to protect public health and safety.

What’s Next?

According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, the deadline to register to vote for the March 7 election is Feb. 10. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for that election is Feb. 20.

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Photo: Courtesy of Tim Foster On Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralGov. Kevin StittOklahoma marijuanaOklahoma Medical Marijuana AuthorityOklahomans for Responsible Cannabis ActionState Question 820
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