OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma State Representative filed legislation to give voters power in determining who is licensed to grow marijuana in their counties.
Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, filed House Bill 2989, which requires marijuana-grow applications be filed by June 30 in the county where the grow facility would be located. It also requires county commissioners to set a date for a vote to be held every other year for applications to be approved or denied, according to a House of Representatives news release.
Growers who operate in multiple counties would have to apply for voter approval in each county where they do business.
Applicants who are denied would not be able to reapply for five years within the county.
“Many of our rural voters did not approve the state question that resulted in the legalization of medical marijuana in our state,” Russ said. “Yet they are saddled with the ill consequences. And they are facing the possibility that petitioners will place a question on a future state ballot to legalize recreational marijuana.”
Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana in 2018. There are more than 7,000 cannabis growers in the state.
Russ claims the large number of pot grows has put a strain on water supplies, electricity usage, law enforcement officials and tax assessors.
“We must give our county residents this measure of local control over how many grow houses are allowed to operate within their borders,” Russ said. “This affects public safety, their access to public utilities, their ability to fair and equitable collection of taxes from property owners and other issues.”