Earlier in the year, Oklahoma House Representatives passed House Bill 3019, which had several provisions to modify and add definitions to medical marijuana policies. These changes were introduced by a seven-member Republican working group and would benefit the state’s burgeoning marijuana sector in several ways.
Although the bill had plenty of modifications to marijuana laws in the state, the most notable change involved dispensary packaging. According to the new bill, medical marijuana products can be placed in clear packaging as of November this year. This move will enable cannabis producers to use packaging, allowing consumers to see the products inside cannabis containers.
Even so, the packaging must still meet particular requirements to maintain safety. According to the approved bill, all marijuana packaging must be child-resistant and have labels with the statement “For use by licensed medical marijuana patients only.” Similarly, retailers must place any cannabis products in clear packaging inside opaque exit bags at the point of sale.
Industry insiders have shown their support for the reform measures, which they believe will help improve the marijuana market in Oklahoma. Similarly, the bill proposed a two-year moratorium on the issuance of medical marijuana licenses to commercial farmers, processors, and dispensaries. Stakeholders in the industry believe that this will provide ample time for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) to scrutinize whether all commercial licensees comply with state laws.
Furthermore, the new measures will help eradicate the illicit cannabis market in Oklahoma, which has proven to be a threat to the legal weed industry. The regulations will require a minimum of one inspection per year for cannabis facilities and lift the cap that was a maximum of two assessments. Moreover, Representatives filed another bill to create a grant program to fund law enforcement efforts in every county and aid in stopping illegal cannabis sales.
Industry experts also believe that the Oklahoma cannabis space is oversaturated due to loopholes in the law. The state has nearly 2,300 licensed dispensaries that are supposed to serve about 380,000 licensed medical marijuana patients. There has also been an influx of growers and cannabis processing firms, which has caused weed prices to plummet. Hence, the two-year moratorium on the issuance of medical marijuana licenses, coupled with the new regulations, can help control the industry’s growth.
We’re yet to see how the regulations from the new bill will affect the cannabis industry in Oklahoma. Market insiders believe that the government only reacts to issues arising from the state’s legal cannabis industry rather than examining the root cause of the problem. Nevertheless, stakeholders must gear up to comply with the new regulations as they become effective next month.