Roll forward 

There has been lots of movement and recent changes to the state’s medical cannabis program since the legislature adjourned, including the announcement of a seed-to-sale tracking system software and the implementation of new administrative rules.

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The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has announced that it has chosen its partner for the state’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking program.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services chose Metrc after its bidding process.

Metrc is currently operational and in use by cannabis programs in 13 states as well as Washington, D.C. Its name is an acronym for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance and is a cloud-based software that uses radio-frequency identification tags to track the movement of plants and packages.

“We’re honored Oklahoma selected Metrc to implement the state’s first cannabis tracking system,” CEO Jeff Wells said in a news release. “With one of the fastest growing medical cannabis markets in the United States, the OMMA has done a tremendous job developing this new industry, and we’re excited to support its ongoing success. We look forward to working with state regulators and licensees to launch our system and ensure cannabis products are safe and secure for patients.”

OMMA spokeswoman Terri Watkins said that their agency was meeting remotely with Metrc last week to finalize their deal and to start laying the groundwork for its implementation, which will occur within six months.

For those who have already purchased seed-to-sale tracking systems for their businesses, Metrc will be able to communicate with those systems.

The pricing for monthly access to the software and plant and product tags have not been announced, but they typically run 25 to 50 cents per tag in other states’ cannabis markets.

Once the system is in place, OMMA will be conducting virtual training sessions on the implementation and usage of the software, Watkins said.

The announcement came a month after Dr. Kelly Williams was named the interim director of the OMMA. She previously served as the agency’s deputy director. Travis Kirkpatrick, the former director, was promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Prevention and Preparedness at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. He now presides over oversight of the OMMA.

Williams has a PhD in quantitative psychology and previously served as Oklahoma City University’s Institutional Research Director for seven years before joining OMMA.

New rules

The latest set of rules for the medical cannabis program went into effect on Sept. 11.

The rules are a function of administrative law that take place outside of the legislative framework and provide guidance on the minutiae of the OMMA’s regulatory functions not covered by bills adopted by the state legislature. The last set of rules went into effect on Nov. 1, 2019.

Some of the key changes:

“Establishes requirement that dispensaries must ensure that the medical marijuana and medical marijuana products being purchased and sold have passed all tests. This includes obtaining and maintaining copies of the certificate of analysis. Growers and Processors are required to provide copies of the certificate of analysis to the Dispensary upon request.”

“Establishes penalties for when a transporter agent fails to carry a copy of the commercial transporter license and transporter agent license during transport in violation of the law.”

“Establishes requirement to test for water activity and moisture content but exempts flash frozen medical marijuana from this testing.” And, “Establishes processes and procedures for remediation and retesting.”

A full copy of the new rules can be found on the OMMA’s website.

SQ813 tossed out

The last standing ballot initiative petition for recreational cannabis in the state of Oklahoma has been declared unconstitutional by the state’s highest court.

State Question 813 had sought to make the purchase of cannabis flower, concentrates, edibles and other forms legal for purchase for adult use without a medical cannabis license with a flat tax of 25 percent.

The state’s Supreme Court ruled on the matter Sept. 28 after a challenge from Paul Tay, a Tulsa-based cannabis activist, this summer.

“Upon review, we hold that State Question No. 813’s gist is misleading as it fails to alert potential signatories of changes being made to the law or with sufficient information to make an informed decision about the proposed constitutional amendment. State Question No. 813 is declared invalid and ordered stricken from the ballot,” the opinion reads.

However, the supremacy clause challenge argued by Tay against State Question 807 regarding medical cannabis was again tossed aside by the court.

“The Court rejected Petitioner’s arguments that State Question 807 violated the supremacy clause of both the Oklahoma and United States Constitution. State Question 807, like State Question 813, seeks to legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana. The … Court held that the Controlled Substances Act does not preempt Oklahoma’s ability to legalize, tax, or regulate marijuana. The Court also concluded that neither the 10th Amendment nor the anti-commandeering doctrine render SQ807 unconstitutional. Finally, the Court concluded legalizing marijuana and taxing marijuana sales do not establish a violation of RICO. We apply those holdings to Petitioner’s arguments here, and reject each,” according to the opinion.

Six of the justices concurred with the opinion, and another concurred in result. The remaining two concurred in part and dissented in part.

The deadline for State Question 812, a previous ballot petition initiative that decriminalizes cannabis and was also filed by the same group of petitioners, is set to conclude signature gathering on Oct. 5.

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