Is cannabis legal in Oklahoma? One would think… As of May 1, Oklahoma has 365,667 registered medical patients, 6,675 growers, 2,865 dispensaries and 1,805 processors, according to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Despite this enthusiasm for cannabis, in early March 2023, Oklahoma surprised many by rejecting the legalization of adult-use cannabis by 63% public vote. This unusual move is just one in a long line of the Sooner State keeping people guessing. Cannabis laws in Oklahoma are always a mixed bag, so we’ve gathered and updated the latest news in Oklahoma cannabis.
The Current State of Oklahoma Cannabis Laws
Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed a bill into law designed to rein in illegal Oklahoma cannabis businesses, which have spread like wildfire since the state’s launch of its medical marijuana program. The new law gives the Oklahoma attorney general’s office, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and the state Bureau of Investigation “full authority to investigate and enforce any violations of the laws regarding medical marijuana, including medical marijuana business licenses held by commercial growers, processors, transporters, researchers, education facilities and waste disposal facilities.” Police are now allowed to seize and destroy cannabis not recorded in inventory systems, and state law enforcement agencies may now perform surprise inspections.
Those looking to establish new business related to cannabis in Oklahoma will have to wait until Aug. 1, 2026, as the state has extended its ban on establishing new medical businesses until then. House Bill 2095 was signed into law on May 2 to extend the statewide moratorium forbidding regulators from distributing any new medical cannabis dispensary, processor or commercial grower licenses until 2026.
Senate Bill 813 passed into law via governor signature at the end of May 2023. This allows the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to operate a quality assurance laboratory or to contract with a private lab for conducting compliance testing of medical marijuana testing. Standards and contract pricing were established in the bill, and a secret shopper program is moving toward implementation. Senate Bill 437 was vetoed by the governor on June 9; provisions of the bill included mandatory pre-packaging of cannabis products, further restrictions on use of medical marijuana by minors, limits on the THC content of edibles and requirements tied to continuing education for medical marijuana workers and prescribing physicians. In vetoing Senate Bill 437, Stitt said he would support various parts of the bill if sent to him individually.
The governor’s reasoning for not allowing SB 437 to become a new Oklahoma cannabis law tied to his concern the bill would “roll back the progress” the state has made to address “illegal marijuana grow operations.” In his veto statement, Stitt said “Senate Bill 437 is an omnibus piece of legislation related to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program. Contained within the bill are a variety of policy changes to the program that, on their own, would have my full support. Unfortunately, the bill would also roll back the progress we have made as a state to address illegal marijuana grow operations and bad actors within the industry. As illegal grow operations and bad actors continue to be the primary issue facing the industry, it is unwise to repeal changes designed to curb their participation in the market in exchange for improvements to other areas of the state’s program.”
Cannabis Laws in Oklahoma Continue to Develop
As cannabis laws in Oklahoma continue to be fine-tuned, one group of public servants is looking for access to allow medical cannabis. Tulsa Firefighters Local 176 Union President Matt Lay is pushing for Tulsa firefighters to be allowed to use medicinal marijuana to relieve pain and other job-related stress.
“Originally, it was brought to us by a lot of service members that talked about being able to move away from schedule two narcotics and a litany of prescriptions they were on, using cannabis-based products,” Lay said.
City Mayor G.T. Bynum recently spoke on the issue, stating caution and deliberation have been in play when discussing allowing the use of medical marijuana for firefighters.
“The dosages are not federally regulated in the way that, say, any, pretty much any other medication you would take, and that we would allow employees to take, would be regulated. And so, when you’re talking about hundreds of firefighters who are responsible for the lives and safety of hundreds of thousands of people, I’m not going to rush in and just do something and hope that it works for the best,” Bynum said.
What are your thoughts on the changes in Oklahoma cannabis? Come talk about them at CannaCon in Oklahoma City at 100 Mick Cornett Drive on April 5 & 6, 2024. No medical cards needed! Early Bird prices are One Day Expo only: $70, One Day Expo and Seminar: $110, Two Days Expo only: $135, and Two Days Expo & Seminar: $185.
This article was originally published Feb. 28, 2023, and was updated June 29, 2023.