OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Attorneys in Oklahoma have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority over new changes to that are being implemented for medical marijuana businesses.
For almost two years, Oklahoma residents have been able to apply for medical marijuana licenses.
However, a recent law is making things more complicated for some residents to own medical marijuana businesses in the Sooner State.
Earlier this week, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority regarding a recent residency law.
In the summer of 2019, the OMMA began implementing laws that were passed during the 2019 legislative session regarding medical marijuana restrictions.
House Bill 2612 impacted businesses that were trying to obtain a medical marijuana business license in the Sooner State by changing the definition of an Oklahoma resident.
“In order to be considered an Oklahoma resident for purposes of a medical marijuana business application, all applicants shall provide proof of Oklahoma residency for at least two (2) years
immediately preceding the date of application or five (5) years of continuous Oklahoma residency during the preceding twenty-five (25) years immediately preceding the date of application,” the bill states.
The bill also changed the definition of schools to include preschools and also changed the measuring points between schools and licensed dispensaries.
As a result, several businesses filed a class-action lawsuit regarding the new restrictions. The plaintiffs are asking a jury to determine that business owners who became residents of Oklahoma are not subject to a two-year residency requirement.
Also, the lawsuit “seeks judgement declaring that all dispensary businesses which applied with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority for licensure and received such license, shall not have their licenses revoked and/or renewal denied on the basis that they are located within one thousand (1,000) feet of a school and/or preschool.”
According to the lawsuit, more than 250 businesses are impacted by the residency requirement changes and school distance changes.
“If the two (2) year residency requirement is allowed to survive, families which uprooted their lives, moved to the state of Oklahoma, and staked their financial future on Oklahoma risk losing everything through absolutely no fault of their own. They were properly granted a license, and such license renewals should not be denied on the basis that they cannot now meet a requirement that they have lived in Oklahoma two (2) years when such requirement did not exist when they moved here and obtained licensure,” the lawsuit read.
The lawsuit goes on to say that business owners “could not have anticipated that their business, which was compliant when licensed, would become non-compliant” due to the new restrictions.
The lawsuit also involved one business that is almost 2,000 feet from a school building, but is within 1,000 feet “of the entrance to the dugout of a softball field,” which is now considered a school entrance.
“If the OMMA is allowed to reject business license renewals filed by medical marijuana dispensary license holders which were properly licensed under 788 as being more than 1,000 feet from a school based on the change to the definitions which now makes them fall within the 1,000 foot distance requirement, the failure to renew the license would constitute an improper taking of property without compensation by the State of Oklahoma in violation of both the Constitution of the United States of America and the Oklahoma Constitution,” the lawsuit claims.
KFOR reached out to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office for a statement on the lawsuit. However, officials with the AG’s office say they have not seen a copy of the lawsuit and have not received a request for representation from the OMMA, so they are not involved.