Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is taking steps to implement statutory modifications made during the 2019 legislative session to the state’s medical marijuana program.
“OMMA has re-instituted a project management structure to ensure compliance and timely implementation of the changes,” said Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates. “Implementation activities will include rule promulgation, procurements, information technology changes, application developments and operational planning.”
OMMA met with key policymakers to gain understanding and agreement on the plans underway to bring about operational changes required per statute.
All changes are expected to be implemented through a series, or ‘flights,’ of emergency rule promulgation activities occurring in August and November 2019, and followed by permanent rule promulgation activities (including opportunity for public comment as set forth in the Administrative Procedures Act) occurring in 2020.
Legislative Changes Currently Effective
• Board Certification – Effective May 7, 2019, SB 162 removed the requirement for physicians issuing recommendations to patients for medical marijuana to be board certified. This change aligns with language in HB 2612.
• Patient and Caregiver Application Processing – Effective May 7, 2019, SB 162 gave OMMA 14 business days to review and provide a response on patient and caregiver applications. This changes the previous requirement of 14 calendar days.
• Waste Disposal – Effective May 9, 2019, Section 3 of SB 882 authorizes businesses to destroy root balls, stems, fan leaves, and seeds through open burning, incineration, burying, mulching, composting or any other technique approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. SB 882 also provides medical marijuana waste shall not be subject to the provisions of the Uniform Controlled and Dangerous Substances Act.
Legislative Changes Effective 90 Days after Sine Die (August 29)
• Patients – HB 2613 amends HB 2612 to authorize physicians licensed by and in good standing with the Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners to recommend medical marijuana.
• Patients – HB 2601 creates a new short-term, 60-day medical marijuana patient license for Oklahoma patients whose physician recommendation is only valid for 60 days.
• Patients – SB 1030 requires OMMA to share information displayed on medical marijuana licenses with the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. OMMA is evaluating implementation timelines for this data infrastructure.
• Patients – HB 2612 sets a reduced application fee of $20.00 for 100% disabled veterans.
Business Applications and Renewals
• Application Processing – HB 2601 and HB 2612 extend the timeline for review of business applications to 90 business days.
• Renewal Applications – The online renewal system will be available starting Aug. 29. Licenses will remain valid and active while the renewal is being processed, even if the renewal processing time goes beyond the expiration date of the license.
• Residency Requirements – HB 2612 changes Oklahoma residency to mean (1) Oklahoma residency for two years preceding date of application; or (2) five years of continuous Oklahoma residency during the 25 years preceding date of application. Pursuant to HB 2601, commercial licensees who were issued a license prior to enactment of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act (HB 2612) are exempt from the new two-year or five-year residency requirements. All other business applicants will be subject to the new residency requirements set forth in HB 2612.
• Certificate of Compliance – SB 1030 requires all business applicants to provide a certificate of compliance from relevant local government(s) that certifies the applicant is compliant with zoning classifications, municipal ordinances and all applicable safety, electrical, fire, plumbing, waste, construction and building specification codes.
• Schools – HB 2612 defines “school” to include preschools for the purposes of the 1,000 feet requirement for dispensaries. “School” does not include a homeschool, daycare or childcare facility.
• Sales – HB 2612 authorizes licensed growers to sell seeds, flowers, or clones to other licensed growers. It also authorizes licensed dispensaries to sell to other licensed dispensaries.
• Seed-to-Sale – HB 2612 requires the implementation of an electronic seed-to-sale inventory tracking system that will track the entire life-cycle of medical marijuana and requires business licensees to integrate their seed-to-sale tracking system with the seed-to-sale tracking system established by OMMA. Procurement of this system is following state agency procurement requirements prescribed by law, with an anticipated award in early 2020.
• Testing – HB 2612 and SB 162 require growers and processors to utilize licensed laboratories to test harvest and product batches that are no greater than 10 pounds before any sale, transfer or processing of medical marijuana. Owners of laboratories cannot have a direct or indirect beneficial ownership interest in any licensed dispensary, grower, or processor. Testing requirements are expanded to encompass all medical marijuana.
• Packaging/labeling – HB 2612 and HB 2601 add packaging and labeling requirements.
• Compliance – HB 2612 broadens OMMA inspection authority to include all commercial license types and authorizes inspections twice a year with prior notice and additional inspections when necessary due to violations.
New License Categories
HB 2612 and SB 162 add five new license categories:
• Transporter ($2,500) — In addition to the license granted to growers, processors and dispensaries upon issuance of license, standalone transportation licenses will be made available for the distribution and storage of medical marijuana.
• Transporter Agent ($100) — Required for any agents, employees, officers or owners of a transporter license holder in order to transport medical marijuana.
• Testing Laboratory ($2,500) — Licenses a laboratory to perform testing on medical marijuana. This license is anticipated to be available by early 2020.
• Education Facility ($500) — Licenses a nonprofit entity to provide training and education to individuals involved in the growing, processing, packaging and testing of medical marijuana. This license is anticipated to be available by early 2020.
• Short-Term Patient — A 60-day license to be issued to any patient applicant who meets the requirements for a two (2) year license but whose physician recommendation is only valid for 60 days. Fee will be set by the Department during the rules promulgation process.
Legislative Changes Effective Nov. 1
• SB 882 establishes waste facility licenses and permits as a new license category.
Since the passage of State Question 788, and the start of accepting license applications in August 2018, the program continues to issue thousands of licenses each week, within a turn-around time of 14 days. OMMA will also have additional staff on board in late August when new laws become effective.
As of July 1, OMMA has approved 146,381 patient, 958 caregiver, 3,397 grower, 905 processor and 1,605 dispensary licenses.