Initiative to Legalize Medical Marijuana Placed on 2018 Ballot in Oklahoma

Oklahoma voters will have the opportunity next year to legalize medical cannabis.

Advocates have successfully collected and submitted enough valid signatures on their initiative to legalize medical marijuana to put it to a vote in one of the nation’s most conservative states. State Question 788 will appear on the November, 2018 ballot and would legalize the possession, use and licensed distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

The proposed law – which taxes cannabis at 7% – would allow patients to possess up to three ounces of marijuana (eight in a private residence) and up to 72 ounces of marijuana edibles. They would also be allowed to grow up to six mature cannabis plants, in addition to six seedlings. The measure states that “A regulatory office shall be established under the Oklahoma State Department of Health which will receive applications for medical license recipients, dispensaries, growers, and packagers within sixty (60) days of the passage of this initiative.”

Below is the full text of State Question 788:

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 420 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. A person in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license shall be able to:

1. Consume marijuana legally;

2. Legally possess up to three (3) ounces of marijuana on their person;

3. Legally possess six (6) mature marijuana plants;

4. Legally possess six (6) seedling plants;

5. Legally possess one (1) ounce of concentrated marijuana;

6. Legally possess seventy-two (72) ounces of edible marijuana; and

7. Legally possess up to eight (8) ounces of marijuana in their residence.

B. Possession of up to one and one-half (1.5) ounces of marijuana by persons who can state a medical condition, but not in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license, shall constitute a misdemeanor offense with a fine not to exceed Four Hundred Dollars ($400.00).

C. A regulatory office shall be established under the Oklahoma State Department of Health which will receive applications for medical license recipients, dispensaries, growers, and packagers within sixty (60) days of the passage of this initiative.

D. The Oklahoma State Department of Health shall within thirty (30) days of passage of this initiative, make available, on their website, in an easy to find location, an application for a medical marijuana license. The license will be good for two (2) years, and the application fee will be One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or Twenty Dollars ($20.00) for individuals on Medicaid, Medicare, or SoonerCare. The methods of payment will be provided on the website.

E. A temporary license application will also be available on the Oklahoma Department of Health website. A temporary medical marijuana license will be granted to any medical marijuana license holder from other states, provided that the state has a state regulated medical marijuana program, and the applicant can prove they are a member of such. Temporary licenses will be issued for thirty (30) days. The cost for a temporary license shall be One Hundred Dollars ($100.00). Renewal will be granted with resubmission of a new application. No additional criteria will be required.

F. Medical marijuana license applicants will submit their application to the Oklahoma State Department of Health for approval and that the applicant must be an Oklahoma state resident and shall prove residency by a valid driver’s license, utility bills, or other accepted methods.

G. The Oklahoma State Department of Health shall review the medical marijuana application, approve/reject the application, and mail the applicant’s approval or rejection letter (stating reasons for rejection) to the applicant within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the application. Approved applicants will be issued a medical marijuana license which will act as proof of their approved status. Applications may only be rejected based on applicant not meeting stated criteria or improper completion of the application.

H. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will only keep the following records for each approved medical license:

1. a digital photograph of the license holder;

2. the expiration date of the license;

3. the county where the card was issued; and

4. a unique 24 character identification number assigned to the license.

I. The Department of Health will make available, both on its website, and through a telephone verification system, an easy method to validate a medical license holders authenticity by the unique 24 character identifier.

J. The State Department of Health will ensure that all application records and information are sealed to protect the privacy of medical license applicants.

K. A caregiver license will be made available for qualified caregivers of a medical marijuana license holder who is homebound. The caregiver license will give the caregiver the same rights as the medical license holder. Applicants for a caregiver license will submit proof of the medical marijuana license holder’s license status and homebound status, that they are the designee of the medical marijuana license holder, must submit proof that the caregiver is age eighteen (18) or older, and must submit proof the caregiver is an Oklahoma resident. This will be the only criteria for a caregiver license.

L. All applicants must be eighteen (18) years or older. A special exception will be granted to an applicant under the age of eighteen (18), however these applications must be signed by two (2) physicians and the applicant’s parent or legal guardian.

M. All applications for a medical license must be signed by an Oklahoma Board certified physician. There are no qualifying conditions. A medical marijuana license must be recommended according to the accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow when recommending or approving any medication. No physician may be unduly stigmatized or harassed for signing a medical marijuana license application.

N. Counties and cities may enact medical marijuana guidelines allowing medical marijuana license holders or caregivers to exceed the state limits set forth in subsection A of this section.

SECTION 2. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 421 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. The Oklahoma State Department of Health shall within thirty (30) days of passage of this initiative, make available, on their website, in an easy to find location, an application for a medical marijuana dispensary license. The application fee shall be Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) and a method of payment will be provided on the website. Retail applicants must all be Oklahoma state residents. Any entity applying for a retail license must be owned by an Oklahoma state resident and must be registered to do business in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State Department of Health shall have two (2) weeks to review the application, approve or reject the application, and mail the approval/rejection letter (if rejected, stating reasons for rejection) to the applicant.

B. The Oklahoma State Department of Health must approve all applications which meet the following criteria:

1. Applicant must be age twenty-five (25) or older;

2. Any applicant, applying as an individual, must show residency in the state of Oklahoma;

3. All applying entities must show that all members, managers, and board members are Oklahoma residents;

4. An applying entity may show ownership of non-Oklahoma residents, but that percentage ownership may not exceed twenty-five percent (25%);

5. All applying individuals or entities must be registered to conduct business in the state of Oklahoma;

6. All applicants must disclose all ownership;

7. Applicant(s) with only nonviolent felony conviction(s) in the last two (2) years, any other felony conviction in 5 (years), inmates, or any person currently incarcerated may not qualify for a medical marijuana dispensary license.

C. Retailers will be required to complete a monthly sales report to the Oklahoma Department of Health. This report will be due on the 15th of each month and provide reporting on the previous month. This report will detail the weight of marijuana purchased at wholesale and the weight of marijuana sold to card holders, and account for any waste. The report will show total sales in dollars, tax collected in dollars, and tax due in dollars. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will have oversight and auditing responsibilities to ensure that all marijuana being grown is accounted for. A retailer will only be subject to a penalty if a gross discrepancy exists and cannot be explained. Penalties for fraudulent reporting occurring within any 2 year time period will be an initial fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) (first) and revocation of licensing (second).

D. Only a licensed medical marijuana retailer may conduct retail sales of marijuana, or marijuana derivatives in the form provided by licensed processors, and these products can only be sold to a medical marijuana license holder or their caregiver. Penalties for fraudulent sales occurring within any 2 year time period will be an initial fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) (first) and revocation of licensing (second).

SECTION 3. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 422 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will within thirty (30) days of passage of this initiative, make available, on their website, in an easy to find location, an application for a commercial grower license. The application fee will be Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) and methods of payment will be provided on the website. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has two (2) weeks to review application, approve or reject the application, and mail the approval/rejection letter (if rejected, stating reasons for rejection) to the applicant.

B. The Oklahoma State Department of Health must approve all applications which meet the following criteria:

1. Applicant must be age twenty-five (25) or older;

2. Any applicant, applying as an individual, must show residency in the state of Oklahoma;

3. All applying entities must show that all members, managers, and board members are Oklahoma residents;

4. An applying entity may show ownership of non-Oklahoma residents, but that percentage ownership may not exceed twenty-five percent (25%);

5. All applying individuals or entities must be registered to conduct business in the state of Oklahoma;

6. All applicants must disclose all ownership;

7. Applicant(s) with only nonviolent felony conviction(s) in the last two (2) years, any other felony conviction in 5 (years), inmates, or any person currently incarcerated may not qualify for a commercial grower license.

C. A licensed commercial grower may sell marijuana to a licensed retailer, or a licensed packager. Further, these sales will be considered wholesale sales and not subject to taxation. Under no circumstances may a licensed commercial grower sell marijuana directly to a medical marijuana license holder. A licensed commercial grower may only sell at the wholesale level to a licensed retailer or a licensed processor. If the federal government lifts restrictions on buying and selling marijuana between states, then a licensed commercial grower would be allowed to sell and buy marijuana wholesale from, or to, an out of state wholesale provider. A licensed commercial grower will be required to complete a monthly yield and sales report to the Oklahoma Department of Health. This report will be due on the 15th of each month and provide reporting on the previous month. This report will detail amount of marijuana harvested in pounds, the amount of drying or dried marijuana on hand, the amount of marijuana sold to processors in pounds, the amount of waste in pounds, and the amount of marijuana sold to retailers in lbs. Additionally, this report will show total wholesale sales in dollars. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will have oversight and auditing responsibilities to ensure that all marijuana being grown is accounted for. A licensed grower will only be subject to a penalty if a gross discrepancy exists and cannot be explained. Penalties for fraudulent reporting or sales occurring within any 2 year time period will be an initial fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) (first) and revocation of licensing (second).

D. There shall be no limits on how much marijuana a licensed grower can grow.

SECTION 4. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 423 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. The Oklahoma State Department of Health shall within thirty (30) days of passage of this initiative, make available, on their website, in an easy to find location, an application for a medical marijuana processing license. The application fee shall be Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) and methods of payment will be provided on the website. The Oklahoma State Department of Health shall have two (2) weeks to review the application, approve or reject the application, and mail the approval/rejection letter (if rejected, stating reasons for rejection) to the applicant.

B. The Oklahoma State Department of Health must approve all applications which meet the following criteria:

1. Applicant must be age twenty-five (25) or older;

2. Any applicant, applying as an Individual, must show residency in the state of Oklahoma;

3. All applying entities must show that all members, managers, and board members are Oklahoma residents;

4. An applying entity may show ownership of non-Oklahoma residents, but that percentage ownership may not exceed twenty-five percent (25%);

5. All applying individuals or entities must be registered to conduct business in the state of Oklahoma;

6. All applicants must disclose all ownership;

7. Applicant(s) with only nonviolent felony conviction(s) in the last two (2) years, any other felony conviction in 5 (years), inmates, or any person currently incarcerated may not qualify for a medical marijuana processing license.

C. A licensed processor may take marijuana plants and distill or process these plants into concentrates, edibles, and other forms for consumption. As required by subsection D of this section, the Oklahoma State Department of Health will, within sixty (60) days of passage of this initiative, make available a set of standards which will be used by licensed processors in the preparation of edible marijuana products. This should be in line with current food preparation guidelines and no excessive or punitive rules may be established by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Once a year, the Oklahoma State Department of Health may inspect a processing operation and determine its compliance with the preparation standards. If deficiencies are found, a written report of deficiency will be issued to the processor. The processor will have one (1) month to correct the deficiency or be subject to a fine of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each deficiency. A licensed processor may sell marijuana products it creates to a licensed retailer, or any other licensed processor. Further, these sales will be considered wholesale sales and not subject to taxation. Under no circumstances may a licensed processor sell marijuana, or any marijuana product, directly to a medical marijuana license holder. However, a licensed processor may process cannabis into a concentrated form, for a medical license holder, for a fee. Processors will be required to complete a monthly yield and sales report to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. This report will be due on the 15th of each month and provide reporting on the previous month. This report will detail amount of marijuana purchased in pounds, the amount of marijuana cooked or processed in pounds, and the amount of waste in pounds. Additionally, this report will show total wholesale sales in dollars. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will have oversight and auditing responsibilities to ensure that all marijuana being grown is accounted for. A licensed processor will only be subject to a penalty if a gross discrepancy exists and cannot be explained. Penalties for fraudulent reporting occurring within any 2 year time period will be an initial fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) (first) and revocation of licensing (second).

D. The inspection and compliance of processors producing products with marijuana as an additive. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will be compelled to, within thirty (30) days of passage of this initiative, appoint a board of twelve (12) Oklahoma residents, who are marijuana industry experts, to create a list of food safety standards for processing and handling medical marijuana in Oklahoma. These standards will be adopted by the agency and the agency can enforce these standards for processors. The agency will develop a standards review procedure and these standards can be altered by calling another board of twelve (12) Oklahoma marijuana industry experts. A signed letter of twenty (20) operating processors would constitute a need for a new board and standard review.

E. If it becomes permissible, under federal law, marijuana may be moved across state lines.

F. Any device used for the consumption of medical marijuana shall be considered legal to be sold, manufactured, distributed, and possessed. No merchant, wholesaler, manufacturer, or individual may unduly be harassed or prosecuted for selling, manufacturing, or possession of medical marijuana paraphernalia.

SECTION 5. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 424 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. A marijuana transportation license will be issued to qualifying applicants for a marijuana retail, growing, or processing license. The transportation license will be issued at the time of approval of a retail, growing, or processing license.

B. A transportation license will allow the holder to transport marijuana from an Oklahoma licensed medical marijuana retailer, licensed growing facility, or licensed processor facility to an Oklahoma licensed medical marijuana retailer, licensed growing facility, or licensed processing facility.

C. All marijuana or marijuana products shall be transported in a locked container and clearly labeled “Medical Marijuana or Derivative”.

SECTION 6. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 425 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. No school or landlord may refuse to enroll or lease to and may not otherwise penalize a person solely for his status as a medical marijuana license holder, unless failing to do so would imminently cause the school or landlord to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations.

B. Unless a failure to do so would cause an employer to imminently lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person based upon either:

1. The person’s status as a medical marijuana license holder; or

2. Employers may take action against a holder of a medical marijuana license holder if the holder uses or possesses marijuana while in the holder’s place of employment or during the hours of employment. Employers may not take action against the holder of a medical marijuana license solely based upon the status of an employee as a medical marijuana license holder or the results of a drug test showing positive for marijuana or its components.

C. For the purposes of medical care, including organ transplants, a medical marijuana license holder’s authorized use of marijuana must be considered the equivalent of the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician and does not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a registered qualifying patient from medical care.

D. No medical marijuana license holder may be denied custody of or visitation or parenting time with a minor, and there is no presumption of neglect or child endangerment for conduct allowed under this law, unless the person’s behavior creates an unreasonable danger to the safety of the minor.

E. No person holding a medical marijuana license may unduly be withheld from holding a state issued license by virtue of their being a medical marijuana license holder. This would include such things as a concealed carry permit.

F. No city or local municipality may unduly change or restrict zoning laws to prevent the opening of a retail marijuana establishment.

G. The location of any retail marijuana establishment is specifically prohibited within one thousand (1,000) feet from any public or private school entrance.

H. Research will be provided under this law. A researcher may apply to the Oklahoma Department of Health for a special research license. That license will be granted, provided the applicant meet the criteria listed under Section 421. B. Research license holders will be required to file monthly consumption reports to the Oklahoma Department of Health with amounts of marijuana used for research.

SECTION 7. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 426 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. The tax on retail medical marijuana sales will be established at seven percent (7%) of the gross amount received by the seller.

B. This tax will be collected at the point of sale. Tax proceeds will be applied primarily to finance the regulatory office.

C. If proceeds from the levy authorized by subsection A of this section exceed the budgeted amount for running the regulatory office, any surplus shall be apportioned with seventy-five percent (75%) going to the General Revenue Fund and may only be expended for common education. Twenty-five percent (25%) shall be apportioned to the Oklahoma State Department of Health and earmarked for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

SECTION 8. The provisions hereof are severable, and if any part or provision hereof shall be void, invalid, or unconstitutional, the decision of the court so holding shall not affect or impair any of the remaining parts or provision hereof, and the remaining provisions hereof shall continue in full force and effect.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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