Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana in 2018, but now some big changes are coming to the program through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. If you live in Oklahoma, now is the time to familiarize yourself with these new rules and regulations so you can take full advantage of the medical marijuana program in your state. Here’s what you need to know about medical marijuana in Oklahoma for the rest of 2019 and beyond.
The Changes to Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma in 2019 and 2020
The new rules passed in House Bill 2612 over the summer roll out changes for both patients and purveyors of medical marijuana alike. For patients, these changes include:
- Firearms – According to federal law, illegal drug users cannot lawfully own guns. In Oklahoma, medical marijuana patients have the right to own firearms despite what the federal government says.
- Discrimination – The new law allows employers in professions such as hazardous materials handling, firefighting, and heavy machine operating to consider the medical marijuana status of the patients when hiring. For patients in other professions where safety is not an issue, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on the employee’s status of testing positive for THC or having a license to use medical marijuana.
- Disabled veterans – The new rules allow veterans that are 100% disabled to pay the reduced $20 fee for a medical marijuana license. This is down from the standard $100 fee.
For businesses, a few new rules apply as well, including:
- Certificate of compliance requirement – When applying for a business, certificates of compliance must be included for zoning in their jurisdictions as well as compliance of waste, building, and fire code. Review of applications now works on a 90-day timeline.
- Tracking – Businesses must have a sort of seed-to-sale tracking system in place that will help to reduce the chance of product diversion onto the black market.
- Updated packaging requirements – The new rules also require information to be placed on medical marijuana products that note the potency of the product as well as if it’s been tested for contamination.
- Sales – Licensed growers can now sell flower, clones, and seeds to other licensed growers. Licensed dispensaries can also sell to other licensed dispensaries.
New Licenses Available from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority
There are five brand new license categories for medical marijuana in Oklahoma under HB 2612. These are:
- Short-term patient – A patient who meets the requirements of a two-year license but only needs to utilize medical marijuana for a short amount of time can now qualify for a 60-day license.
- Education facility – This license allows nonprofits to educate people about growing, packaging, processing, and testing of medical marijuana.
- Testing laboratory – These licenses are for laboratories that test medical marijuana.
- Transporter – Standalone transporters of medical marijuana can now have a license for storage and distribution.
- Transporter agent – This license is in addition to the transporter license to be able to transport marijuana, not simply store and distribute.
The Impact of New Rules to Medical Marijuana in 2019 and Beyond
These new rules will have the largest impact on employers in Oklahoma – in a very positive way. In “safety-sensitive” positions, employers will now have recourse to take action against or even terminate someone they believe to be under the influence of marijuana on the job. But employers also cannot discriminate against someone based on their positive test for marijuana when they legally obtain medical marijuana as an MMJ patient.
Of course, protections for users of medical marijuana were strengthened by the new rules as well. Registered users of medical marijuana cannot be denied access to firearms or public assistance due to their medical cannabis use. And don’t forget that disabled veterans can now pay less to obtain a medical marijuana license.
How to Qualify Under OK Medical Marijuana Authority Rules
If you have yet to take advantage of medical marijuana in Oklahoma in 2019 but are interested, you must be 18 years old to qualify for the medical marijuana program and be evaluated by a licensed physician or podiatrist. If a minor suffers from a condition deemed by a doctor to benefit from use of MMJ, then the legal guardian, parent, or caregiver can get two separate physicians to fill out Medical Marijuana Recommendation forms within 30 days of other another, then apply for the license.
You must prove you are a resident of Oklahoma by proving a state-issued ID card or driver’s license. A valid United States passport can also serve as proof of residency.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority may have changed a few things this summer, but the goal remains the same: to get medical marijuana to the people who benefit from it. Learn about these new changes in Oklahoma medical marijuana and take advantage of all your state has to offer.