April 5, 2022

Changes on the Horizon for Oklahoma Cannabis Licensees

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Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

The Oklahoma legislature is considering no less than 31 bills directly affecting the medical cannabis market in the state. Cannabis businesses may be in for higher expenses if some of the slate of proposed bills are passed by the legislature.

House Bill 2179 would increase licensing fees for growers based on canopy square footage and type of grow facility. Every grower would pay an initial $2,500, in addition to $1.50 per square foot on facilities over 1,667 square feet for indoor grows, greenhouse grows, and light deprivation operations. Outdoor grows over 83,334 square feet (1.9 acres) would pay an additional $0.03 per square foot.

House Bill 3734 would require marijuana businesses to buy temporary conditional licenses before being issued an annual license.

Senate Bill 1697 would require cultivators to post a $25,000 minimum bond to cover land reclamation costs. It would also allow the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) to increase the size of the bond at will if the agency feels land reclamation, after the grower leaves, would be more expensive.

Senate Bill 1693 would have commercial growers and processors obtain permits from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, as well as obtaining an official statement allowing groundwater usage.

Senate Bill 1704 would raise the fines for cannabis businesses and employees for selling or sharing cannabis with unauthorized persons (those under 21 without a medical card). The first violation of the new law would increase the fine by 500%, to $5,000, the second violation increases the fine by 300%, to $15,000, and may include license revocation.

A list of cannabis bills under consideration by the Oklahoma Legislature can be found on NPR’s Oklahoma website. The full text of marijana bills and their legislative progress can be found at Legiscan.com/OK.

With all the cannabis bills pressing in the legislature, Cannabis Benchmarks spoke with Kelsey Pagonis, OMMA Communications Director, about the implementation of the likely new rules and sought clarity on the number of cannabis licenses. Pagonis noted “there are about 395,000 OMMA licensees, however, the vast majority of those license holders fall into the patient/caregiver categories.”

Regarding House Bill 4055, a bill contemplating the monitoring of licensee utilities, Pagonis said it would “require public utilities to report to OMMA on a monthly basis and provide names, addresses, and amount of commodities supplied to licensed medical marijuana growers. The bill requires that we develop rules to monitor groundwater usage.”

Regarding bills under consideration that may raise costs to cannabis businesses – HB 2179, HB 3734, SB 1697, and SB 1704, Pagonis noted that even if OMMA becomes an independent agency, they will still need legislative approval for increasing or decreasing fees.