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Medical Marijuana Authority outlines program changes

July 9, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) – The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is implementing statutory modifications, made during the 2019 legislative session, to the state’s medical marijuana program.

“OMMA has reinstituted a project management structure to ensure compliance and timely implementation of the changes,” said Tom Bates, interim commissioner of health. “Implementation activities will include rule promulgation, procurements, information technology changes, application developments, and operational planning.”

OMMA has met with policymakers to gain common understanding and agreement on the work plans underway to bring about operational changes required per statute.

An overview of the major elements of House Bill 2612 and trailer bills affecting OMMA is available at OMMA.ok.gov.

All changes are expected to be implemented through a series of emergency rule promulgation activities occurring in August and November followed by permanent rule promulgation activities, including opportunity for public comment as set forth in the Administrative Procedures Act, occurring in 2020.

Some legislative changes are already effective.

Effective May 7, Senate Bill 162 removed the requirement for physicians issuing recommendations to patients for medical marijuana to be board-certified.

SB 162 also gave OMMA 14 business days to review and provide a response on patient and caregiver applications.

Senate Bill 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 that medical marijuana waste shall not be subject to the provisions of the Uniform Controlled and Dangerous Substances Act.

Other changes will be effective Aug. 29.

House Bill 2613 authorizes physicians licensed by the Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners to recommend medical marijuana. This will be effective Aug. 29.

Senate Bill 1030 requires OMMA to share information displayed on medical marijuana licenses with the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. OMMA is currently evaluating implementation timelines for this data infrastructure. This is also effective Aug. 29.

HB 2601 and HB 2612 extend the timeline for review of business applications to 90 business days.

HB 2612 also authorizes licensed growers to sell seeds, flowers, or clones to other licensed growers. It also authorizes licensed dispensaries to sell to other licensed dispensaries.

HB 2612 and SB 162 add five new license categories:

• Transporter, required for any agents, employees, officers, or owners of a transporter license holder in order to transport medical marijuana.

• Transporter agent, required for any agents, employees, officers, or owners of a transporter license holder in order to transport medical marijuana.

• Testing laboratory licenses a laboratory to perform testing on medical marijuana. This license is anticipated to be available by early 2020.

• Education facility, which 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-year license but whose physician recommendation is valid for only 60 days.

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