Your Source for Medical Marijuana Representation
State Question 788 enacted seven new sections of law in Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes. By and large, these new sections are concerned with establishing the regulatory framework for Oklahoma’s new medical marijuana program. However, in addition to legalizing medical marijuana, outlining the process by which patients or caregivers may obtain licenses, and providing the structure for commercial licensees to obtain authorization as a grower, processor, or dispensary, State Question 788 also established several other important points. Specifically, State Question 788 includes a licensing provision, decriminalization provision, several anti-discrimination provisions, and a taxation provision designed to fund the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, common education, and state drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
First, 63 O.S. §§ 420A, 421A, 422A, and 423A set up the licensing scheme for both patients and caregivers (420A), as well as commercial operations: dispensaries (421A), growers (422A), and processors (423A). Applicants for patient or caregiver licenses must provide certain items of personal information, while commercial licensees must provide things like proof of Oklahoma residence (for a company, the ownership must be at least 75% resident Oklahomans), a clean background check (showing no owners have any disqualifying felony convictions), or, in the case of a dispensary, that the proposed location is not closer than 1,000 feet to any public or private school. These statutes also provide for monthly reporting requirements of all sales (for dispensaries) or of all yield and sales (for processors and growers).
Moreover, 63 O.S. § 420A (B) also includes a decriminalization provision, providing that unlicensed possession by any person who can state a medical condition is a non-jailable misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $400. (Previously, possession of marijuana by anyone carried a maximum fine of $1000 and a potential jail sentence of one year.)
Beyond the legalization, licensing, and decriminalization provisions of State Question 788, there are also important anti-discrimination protections for license holders enacted in 63 O.S. § 425A. These include a provision for student rights and tenant rights (§ 425A (A)), employee rights (§ 425A (B)(1) and (B)(2)), patient rights (§ 425A (C)), parental rights (§ 425A (D)), or licensing rights in non-medical marijuana contexts, like concealed-carry licensing (§ 425A (E)). In addition, municipal governments are prohibited from enacting zoning laws to prevent the opening of retail dispensaries (§ 425A (F)). These provisions are intended to protect medical marijuana license holders from discrimination—in schooling, housing, employment, medical care, child custody, or state licensing—based on their status as patient licensees, while also ensuring local governments don’t discriminate against dispensary businesses.
Finally, State Question 788 provides for a 7% sales tax, to be collected by dispensaries and charged to license holders (§ 426A (A) and (B)). All other sales--from growers to processors or dispensaries, or from processors to dispensaries or other processors--are specifically exempt from taxation under § 422A (C) and § 423A (C) (respectively). The 7% sales tax supports the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, providing the funding for regulatory oversight. But once the OMMA has a yearly budget, any excess will be apportioned between Oklahoma’s General Revenue Fund, to support common education, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, to support drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
If you have questions about State Question 788, including questions about commercial licensing for a grower, processor, or dispensary operation, or if you have questions about municipal zoning or other anti-discrimination provisions of 788, contact the attorneys at Ball Morse Lowe today. Reach us by phone at 405-701-5355 or contact our office online.