OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One local lawmaker is looking for stricter laws regarding Oklahoma marijuana businesses. The proposed bill would allow local cities to have more say in whether or not marijuana grow operations will be allowed in their areas. 

The author of the bill, Senator Bill Coleman said this should be a decision left up to local authorities. He said they have to deal with the increased crime, the odor, and other dangers like large building fires which put other businesses and residents in harm’s way.  

“Right now, the cities have no choice in the matter of somebody opening a grow operation up in in the city limits. It’s my understanding they can’t legally stop that. So, this will allow the city to say, no, we don’t want marijuana grow operations either within our city limits or within these certain zones,” said Senator Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, District 10.  

Senate Bill 801 would allow cities and towns to modify their standard planning and zoning procedures regarding marijuana grow facilities, which means it would make it easier for the cities to be able to control where growing operations can be located. 

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“Whether or not a grow operation should be within the city limits, I think that should be left up to the decision of those running the city,” said Senator Coleman.  

KFOR reached out to several Oklahoma County marijuana grow facilities Saturday. One grower told KFOR, “Cities already have control over zoning. This was established 100 years ago by the US Supreme Court.” 

Senator Coleman also used a recent massive fire at a medical marijuana grow facility in the city of Tonkawa as an example as to why this law needs to be set in place.  

The building was a total loss and residents who lived nearby were evacuated, while other downtown businesses were told to shelter in place.   

It also required multiple agencies from surrounding areas to help put out the fire. 

“That just gave me a little bit more information to use to hopefully help get the bill passed,” said Senator Coleman.  

Senator Coleman also said the odor next to facilities that grow marijuana is too strong.  

“I think it’s needed because, you know, the odor is so strong. It is very, very strong. You can be within a few hundred feet of a grow operation and have the smell come out. So, I think it’s needed just to let the cities make that choice. Right now, they’re kind of handcuffed on what they can or can’t do with this still fairly new industry in Oklahoma,” said Senator Coleman. 

Senator Coleman is also working with the Oklahoma Municipal League and Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. 

The bill will be up for consideration when the Legislature convenes next month. 

If the bill is passed, the law would go into effect starting November 1st of this year.