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Oklahoma lawmaker looking to pause new medical marijuana business licenses from being issued for two years

"Since 2018, Oklahoma has seen a huge number of commercial medical marijuana grows and facilities flooding into our communities," the author of the bill said.
Credit: Oklahoma State Legislature
Oklahoma Rep. Rusty Cornwell (R-Vinita)

OKLAHOMA, USA — A Republican Oklahoma representative has filed a bill that would temporarily pause commercial medical marijuana business licenses from being issued while authorities investigate if existing facilities are entirely in compliance with state law. The moratorium on processing new medical marijuana business licenses would start July 1, 2022, and end two years later if the bill is signed into law. 

House Bill (HB) 3208 was drafted by Rep. Rusty Cornwell (R-Vinita) and introduced on Wednesday, Jan. 19. 

Cornwell said the bill responds to the overwhelming rush to create commercial medical marijuana grows across the state in a press release. The bill would halt new grow licenses from being issued for the time being while lawmakers look at how the facilities can be held in compliance with state law. Cornwell says the problems come from land purchases being made in cash, leading to alleged concerns from constituents about the potential of "laundering illegal drug money for illegal facilities."    

It's important to note that medical marijuana transactions are primarily made in cash since federal banks turn away clients involved in the industry since marijuana is still a Schedule 1 narcotic on the national level. The initial bill has a section that states if passed, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will work with the Oklahoma State Banking Department and the State Treasure to "develop good practices and standards for banking and finance for medical marijuana businesses." 

"Since 2018, Oklahoma has seen a huge number of commercial medical marijuana grows and facilities flooding into our communities," Cornwell said. "In the initial rush to roll out a system for granting commercial licenses, we've failed to enforce their compliance with state law. House Bill 3208 would temporarily pause the issuance of commercial licenses so that we can confirm current operations are complying with the law."

The Oklahoma State Legislature will take up HB3208 on Monday, Feb. 7. 

To read the entire bill in its current state, follow this link

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