With the medical marijuana licensing process now underway in Oklahoma, it might be well to consider some of the effects that holding a patient or commercial license have on an individual’s ability to exercise the right to keep and bear arms.
The business community is abuzz with anticipation for the future of the medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma. The June election saw Oklahoma approve one of the nation’s most expansive medical marijuana laws, and more ballot initiatives are making their way to the voters.
These new laws explicitly contemplate recreational cannabis operations. It is an exciting time for entrepreneurs and companies looking to capitalize on a budding new industry. But when they do, they need to be prepared for old, familiar problems.
After the passage of State Question 788 (authorizing the production, sale, and use of medical marijuana), the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) adopted regulations that drew two lawsuits and a letter from the Oklahoma Attorney General advising the OSDH that it overstepped its authority with the rulemaking. Consequently, on August 1, 2018, the OSDH adopted a new set of regulations that have been signed by the Oklahoma Governor. As a result, the process for obtaining commercial licenses for medical marijuana is greatly reduced and generally adheres to the requirements in the statute.
With the passage of SQ788, Oklahoma voters have created a new industry rife with opportunities for Oklahomans. From cultivation, processing, and selling, as well as the services that will support medical-marijuana businesses, there is no shortage of opportunities in the industry. However, one layer of protection that inheres in traditional business arrangements is notably absent in the marijuana industry — industry participants are not entitled to bankruptcy relief.
Recently, Oklahoma joined the ranks of the 30 states that have legalized medical marijuana, but the state still has work to do on just how to implement its new law. As usual, the devil is in the details. Even though Oklahoma has made medical marijuana legal, the federal government’s Controlled Substances Act still prohibits the cultivation, sale, distribution and possession of marijuana, whether the ultimate user is combatting chemo-induced nausea or just wants to light up for a Netflix marathon. This gap between the federal and state laws means that anyone entering the industry as a grower or distributor is faced with uncertainties in how to obtain financial services, taxes, gun ownership and … trademarks? Really?
As a result of the recent opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General that the rulemaking for medical marijuana was beyond the scope of statutory authority, the Oklahoma State Department of Health will once again consider regulations to implement State Question 788 (authorizing medical marijuana).