Medical marijuana activists brought their concerns to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, arguing that proposed fees will harm the flourishing industry. In a lawsuit filed last month, business owners strongly oppose the state government's stance, fearing that compliant marijuana businesses will be the ones to suffer the consequences.
Jed Green, director of Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action had this to say, "Dispensaries could go from $2,500 up to $10,000, processors could go up to $30,000 annually," green went on to say, "We believe that the license fees being raised actually amount to an unconstitutional tax increase."
Group members packed the courtroom as they took on the state Supreme Court in a battle over recently imposed fees. These fees, which result from House Bill 2179, are being challenged by the group, raising concerns for growers and dispensaries.
Oklahoma's Supreme Court has revealed that licensing fees imposed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority are not actually taxes. Instead, these fees serve as compensation to the OMMA for its crucial role in overseeing and regulating the booming medical marijuana industry.
Concerns are growing over the impact of increased OMMA fees on legal medical marijuana businesses. Green, a prominent figure in the industry, fears that these fees will only harm legitimate businesses without effectively addressing the issue of black market sales. He emphasizes the growing difficulties faced by business owners in staying compliant and maintaining up-to-date licenses.
Green stated that "At the end of the day, our big concern is that they’re hitting the good guys, and that’s only helping the bad guys."
Marijuana business owners facing new hurdles for license renewals in Oklahoma. Now, compliance with building codes and state fire regulations are required. The deadline to meet all requirements set by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is October 31st.
According to Green "That was not something that was enforced during the first four to five years of the program. It is obvious, at this point, that there is a goal in our state to eliminate medical marijuana businesses through overregulation."
The fate of the group's challenge and cannabis business owners rests in the hands of the state Supreme Court, it is still unsure when the Supreme Court will make its decision.
The tides of the medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma are undeniably shifting, with new challenges and regulations casting uncertainty over the future of compliant businesses. The unfolding battle in the state Supreme Court over House Bill 2179's increased fees represents more than a legal dispute; it's a manifestation of the broader struggle to balance regulation with the nurturing of a still-evolving industry.
As the deadline for compliance looms, and the courtroom echoes with impassioned pleas, the decision of the Supreme Court will not merely define the legality of fees but potentially shape the trajectory of Oklahoma's flourishing cannabis landscape. Jed Green's assertions of overregulation and fears of driving good players out resonate with many in the industry. The impending decision is now more than a ruling; it's a statement on the values, priorities, and future of medical marijuana in Oklahoma.