OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Ever since the passing of State Question 788 in 2018, Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry has been through what seems to be constant changes.
Last week, the Oklahoma Legislature passed another huge measure.
“We’ve got to get proper compliance on our medical marijuana industry and we are nowhere close. We have way too many illegal operators,” said Rep. Jon Echols, of Oklahoma City.
The House Majority Leader says Senate Bill 1543 is a step in the right direction.
The bill, signed into law by Gov. Stitt last week, would take the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority out of the Oklahoma Department of Health and make it a stand alone agency.
“The average patient is going to see a safer product. They are not going to see prices go up as a result of this regulation because who we are focusing in on is the black market,” said Echols.
Echols says this bill will allow the OMMA to react quicker to trends and problems in the industry.
It is one of many bills this legislative session that are trying to crack down on out-of-state and out of the U.S. interests.
“Legitimate businesses that are following the rules are asking for this legislation. The people that are in this want a safe, lightly regulated, but properly regulated, medical marijuana market,” said Echols.
“I’m supportive of the OMMA being its own entity. I was just worried about public input. They took away the advisory committee that had been in the law, which I think is needed. It’s a new industry and we need to be listening to the people who are working in the industry,” said Sen. Julia Kirt.
The Democrat from Oklahoma City voted against the bill. She says with all the marijuana related bills at the Capitol now, too much regulation could squeeze out the small businesses that Oklahoma voters say they want to be part of the industry.
“I think a lot of people are worried because there are so many businesses in the medical marijuana industry. I think the next few years are going to be a real tipping point, especially as we get the inventory systems in place and, some of these other regulations. They are going to help the good actors, those who are following the law, to do their job,” said Kirt
The bill will take effect in November.