In late rush, medical marijuana bills sent to governor

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Lawmakers sent Gov. Kevin Stitt several significant changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws as the 59th Legislature hurried to final adjournment of its first regular session.

After clearing the Senate on Thursday, Senate Bills 437 and 831 made it through the House on Friday just ahead of the gavel. SB 831 would authorize the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to operate its own quality assurance lab, while SB 437 is stitched together from remnants of several other measures.

No opposition was heard to SB 831, but SB 437 ran into some resistance from industry allies.

Provisions of SB 437 include mandatory prepackaging of cannabis products, more restrictions on use of medical marijuana by minors, limits on edibles’ THC content, and continuing education requirements for medical marijuana workers and prescribing physicians.

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“These bills are the result of months of collaboration with the House, industry professionals and patients, as well as research of other states’ medical marijuana industries to see what has and hasn’t worked,” said Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, the Senate author of both bills.

“This is an industry that has helped many Oklahomans and boosted local economies, but there are still areas that need attention. I urge the governor to sign these critical reforms into law.”

As part of the budget package, the House on Friday passed and sent to the governor SB 15x, which would increase the annual license fee from marijuana growers from $500 to $2,500, and SB 18x, which would discontinue automatic apportionment of medical marijuana tax revenue to education and leave it to the Legislature to decide how to spend revenue in excess of that needed to run the OMMA.

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