OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will become a standalone agency starting in November.
Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 1543 into law.
The OMMA became part of the Oklahoma State Department of Health after voters approved medical marijuana in 2018.
“It’s important that OMMA has the ability to meet the ever-changing needs of Oklahoma’s marijuana industry, and separating the authority as a stand-alone agency will give OMMA the flexibility it needs to effectively lead in all facets, including enforcing the laws set forth by the Legislature and investigating any violations,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, who co-wrote the bill. “I’m glad we were able to get this important change across the finish line, which will benefit all legal medical marijuana patients, businesses across the state and public safety. I appreciate my colleague from across the rotunda for his diligence in working on this matter, Senator Rosino for helping shepherd this through the Senate and the Governor for signing this measure into law.”
OMMA, as an independent state agency, will remain in charge of issuing medical marijuana licenses to patients and businesses, along with regulating the state’s medical marijuana program.
“Making OMMA a stand-alone agency is necessary to deal with the complexity of regulation and compliance of the expanding medical marijuana industry,” said House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, who co-wrote the bill. “This will help us cut down on the black market that threatens the wellbeing of Oklahomans and properly regulate the legitimate businesses approved by voters.”
The Governor will appoint OMMA’s executive director, and the state Senate will be responsible for the appointee’s confirmation, after Nov. 1, according to an OMMA news release.
OMMA’s executive director will take over responsibilities designated previously to OSDH Interim Commissioner of Health Keith Reed, such as promulgating administrative rules and issuing agency orders, the news release states.
“Since its inception, OMMA has made great strides in regulating the medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma,” Reed stated. “I have no doubt that they will be able to serve Oklahomans in an even greater capacity as they become a stand-alone agency. We are committed to working with OMMA to ensure a smooth transition that benefits everyone.”
Adria Berry has served as OMMA Executive Director since August 2021. The agency has since “met the staffing requirements set forth in the 2021 legislative session, transitioned to a new licensing software, prioritized compliance inspections for all commercial licensees, established a strategic plan, mission, vision and values, and is in the process of implementing the state’s first inventory tracking system,” the news release states.
“I am grateful to OSDH and Interim Commissioner Reed for the support they’ve provided OMMA,” said Berry. “We have a long road ahead of us to prepare for this transition, but we’re ready and looking forward to seeing how this move will positively affect our operations, licensees and Oklahomans.”