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Oklahoma Legislators Hold Off on Enforcing Residency Requirements for Dispensaries

July 27, 2020

Oklahoma medical marijuana legislators will not enforce a mandate that requires dispensaries to be located more than one thousand feet from schools and cannabis business owners to be Oklahoma residents for at least two years.

The state faces a class-action lawsuit from a medical marijuana business group that claims the new rules could affect hundreds of Oklahoma dispensaries, potentially putting them out of business. 

New Oklahoma Cannabis Regulations

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) have agreed to refrain from enacting the new regulations, which took effect on August 29, 2019, until the lawsuit plays out in court. 

There have been several objections to the new regulations, including the controversial expansion of the law to include pre-schools and head-start programs as a part of the 1,000 foot buffer zone. There have also been concerns about how to properly and accurately measure the distance.

Regarding the stricter residency requirement, Oklahoma cannabis attorney Sarah Lee Parrish said that those who applied for a license before the enactment date last summer will be exempted from the new rules. 

Oklahoma Dispensary License Renewals

Additionally, for Oklahoma Dispensaries that applied for licensing before the new laws took effect last summer, the OMMA has agreed to reconsider license renewal applications that were previously rejected due to the regulations. 

Those who applied for a medical marijuana license between the enactment date of March 15, 2019, and it’s effective date, August 29, 2019, are being treated as “pending.” Parrish believes that discussions to resolve this issue will be successful. 

An Oklahoma County district court judge will be asked to block the state permanently from imposing the new distancing and residency regulations. 

Contributed by Jack Berning