Insights: Cannabis in Oklahoma
June 22, 2018
June 22, 2018
Contributing Writer: Alex Bibisi
On June 26, 2018 the citizens of Oklahoma voted YES on an initiative to allow medical marijuana throughout the state.
Start Planning Now:
For those interested in opening a medical marijuana business in Oklahoma, the time to start planning is now.
While it is still early in the process, and licensing is non-competitive, the time to start putting your business plan together to apply for a business license is now. As with any new medical state, the most successful businesses in Oklahoma will be those that start early with a clear strategy and a detailed business plan.
Because the licensing process isn’t competitive, the challenge for cannabis businesses operating in Oklahoma will be in planning compliant, scalable facilities and setting up efficient operations to run smoothly and sustain long-term success.
One unique aspect of Oklahoma’s proposed law is that employers may not discriminate against medical marijuana patients in hiring, termination, or imposing conditions of employment. While employers may still terminate employees for marijuana use in the workplace, the initiative would prohibit employers from taking action against employees as a result of a positive drug test or their status as a medical marijuana patient.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health released updated rules that will govern the program on July 8, 2018 and will vote to implement these rules on July 10, 2018. The Department will begin accepting applications for growers, processors/packagers, dispensaries/retailers, and transporters after adopting the rules. There is no limit on the number of licenses that may be issued, and licenses must be issued to any applicant who meets the requirements in the law. No license may be issued to any entity with more than twenty-five percent ownership by non-Oklahoma residents.
Under the initiative, patients will be able to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana, 1 ounce of concentrate, and 72 ounces of edibles on their person. At home, patients may possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana, along with 6 mature plants and 6 seedling plants. Local governments may pass laws allowing patients to possess more marijuana than these amounts.
The initiative allows doctors to recommend a patient for any medical condition, so long as the recommending physician uses “accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow.”