Following the state’s recent developments, Oklahoma is looking to refocus on fixing some underlying issues. The director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority says the agency will undergo a ‘hard reset’ to catch up with licensing numbers. Over the last year, the agency says licenses increased by 25%. The director, Adria Berry, says that they can’t keep up with the rapid growth and, as a result, need to double the amount of inspectors.
At the moment, there are over 8,500 licensed growers and nearly 2,500 dispensaries in the state. As more look to Oklahoma for their lower barriers of entry, the agency claims “they want everyone to be doing this the right way”.
“We can’t change where we came from, but we can definitely change where we’re going. So, from this point on, it is a hard reset.”OMMA Director, Adria Berry
According to Oklahoma’s News On 6, starting November 1st, the agency will be able to issue cease and desist orders to businesses not in compliance. The current process can take months whereas this would be on on-the-spot decision.
SMALL BUSINESS VS. BIG CANNABIS
Berry is already the fourth director of the OMMA since their medical market opened in 2018. Like many states with new cannabis programs, their agency goes through turbulent leadership. At this point, you have to wonder if it’s by design or from negligence across the board.
The agency does want to ensure that their state remains open to all cannabis businesses. The Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, Barrett Brown echoed Berry’s concern and sentiments.
“We are a very business-friendly state, always have been, and will continue to be. What we do want to ensure is that those businesses who do start are doing it the right way and are following the right regulations, and that’s what we’re staffing up to ensure.”OMMA Deputy Director, Barrett Brown
This is all just weeks after national news ran the story of a lawsuit in the state. A local law firm allegedly made a now-former employee file as a business partner for over 400 out-of-state businesses. The case is ongoing; but, the news brings a lot of attention to how heavy regulation and social equity programs can be manipulated against the very people they were made for. Additionally, taxing in the cannabis industry has been a constant concern as of late.
As more cannabis business owners call out lawmakers for their lackadaisical approach to it all, we are seeing a turning point. Locals aren’t happy with the decision; even debating how important recreational cannabis is in the bigger picture because of it all. As mistrust and discontent grow, what will be the breaking point?