State Announces High Stakes War On Illegal Marijuana Growers

When Oklahoma authorized medical marijuana in 2018, it created licensing requirements for dispensaries and commercial growers. A license issued by the state is one of the (many) requirements for a legal grower. However, a recent announcement from the director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics revealed the challenges agents from the bureau have faced in their attempts to keep up with the increase in illegally operated grow operations.

According to the bureau’s director, the proliferation of illegal grow operations in Oklahoma resulted in the state implementing a taskforce to assist the bureau in cracking down on unlawful growers. This especially applies to those who are selling what they produce not only here in Oklahoma City and throughout the state, but in other states as well.

The OBN director called the situation with illegal marijuana growers a “public safety hazard” because they operate in facilities lacking certificates of compliance that may violate state building codes. To get a better idea of the problem, the following information explains what it takes to grow marijuana while remaining in compliance with state law.

Medical marijuana grower legislation

Marijuana use and possession is restricted to medical use and regulated by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority or OMMA. That agency also strictly regulates growing, processing, and dispensing through a licensing process.

Growing marijuana for personal use

As of this writing, medical marijuana laws allow patients holding a license to use and possess medical marijuana to grow it for their own use. Some of the rules you must follow include:

·        The plants may only be grown on property that you own. If you rent, then you need written permission from the property owner.

·        Plants must not be visible from the street.

·        Propane, butane, or other hazardous materials cannot be used to grow plants on residential property.

·        Medical marijuana grown for your use cannot be shared with another person.

·        Patients licensed to use marijuana cannot travel with it outside of the state.

Medical marijuana patients cannot possess more than six mature plants and six seedlings or their equivalent in harvested marijuana. The general rule as far as possession of medical marijuana is that a licensed patient may not have more than 3 ounces on them.

Rules for commercial growers of medicinal marijuana

The state may be experiencing a problem with illegal grow operations because of the moratorium on issuing new commercial licenses that now extends to 2026. Anyone with a license to grow medical marijuana that is due for renewal or applies for one when the moratorium ends or is lifted must comply with the following requirements:

·        Applicants must be a resident of the state and at least 25 years old. If the grower is a partnership or other business organization, at least 75% of the owners must be Oklahoma residents.

·        Applicants, including officers of business organizations, must pass background checks.

·        Commercial growing operations are limited to land owned by the licensee for at least five years.

·        A license covers only one location, so growers with more than one location must obtain multiple licenses.

·        Growers may only sell to licensed growers, processors, and dispensaries within the state.

·        The location of the grow operation must have a certificate of compliance proving it complies with all building code requirements.

·        Licensees must prove that the operation is more than 1,000 feet from the property line of a public or private school.

Furthermore, oversite is a common theme. For example, licensees must account for whatever they grow and immediately report missing product to the OMMA.

An Oklahoma City lawyer can help

If the expansion of efforts to enforce the already strict regulations governing medical marijuana use and commercial processing, growing, and dispensing puts you on the wrong side of the law, an Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney can help.

Learn more about your rights and obligations before law enforcement or state regulators contact you by scheduling a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.

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