OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — More than a hundred medical marijuana dispensaries are getting fines in the mail for having a sale that went over the legal limit between January and May of this year. News 4 spoke with a few dispensary owners who said it came as a shock, and they don’t know how they’re going to afford the fine.
“It is saying that I’m getting charged $5,000 for a transaction that was over the limit of 84 grams,” said Rob Speight, a dispensary owner.
Speight got the petition from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority in the mail earlier this week.
Once he read it, confusion began to set in as to when the illegal transaction may have been.
“We don’t know exactly when it was, I’m not saying it didn’t happen. We don’t make a habit of ever overweighing the legal limit…it’s simple, you just break it up into a second transaction,” said Speight.
News 4 spoke with Jed Green who met with the OMMA on Wednesday asking for answers about the petitions.
“It has left some of our business owners scrambling. Especially those who truly are compliant…to go back looking for a needle in a haystack of say one potential violation over 10s of thousands of transactions. OMMA has indicated that they will make those violations known… it would be nice if that might have been more isolated up front,” said Jed Green, the Director of Oklahoman’s for Responsible Cannabis Action.
Green said there could be system glitches that caused the illegal transactions to appear.
“We talked about the way mathematics were being done in conversion of standard American units to metric units. We were discussing that and wanting to ensure that OMMA was being thorough and that in some of these cases there could be some glitches between multiple software systems,” said Green.
Dispensary owners who got a petition, have a court date in November.
“I have to obtain a lawyer, to go to court, to challenge something that I actually have no idea what, where, or when it happened,” said Speight.
“It’s also a crisis to the business owners to get fined so much that it’s shutting people’s door is it’s costing them their livelihood. I’ve been in this five years and in November….I don’t have $30,000 to pay a fine on top of raising other permits and stuff, too,” said Cynthia Myers, who owns three dispensaries.
OMMA sent News 4 a statement.
“As the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, we are responsible for regulating the medical cannabis industry in our state. That responsibility includes upholding the highest standard of compliance. Our agency recently filed petitions against 161 licensed dispensaries for sales over the legal limit. Of those 161 cases, 39 seek fines and revocation of licenses; 122 seek fines. Enforcing legal limits on sales is essential to maintaining the integrity of our medical market, preventing unauthorized use or distribution, and controlling oversupply.”Porsha Riley, Public Relations Manager at Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority
The court date for the owners News 4 spoke with is set for November 8.