The Oklahoma cannabis licensing moratorium, HB 3208, passed the Oklahoma Senate Business, Commerce, and Tourism committee on Thursday, Apr. 14. It has now moved on to the next steps in the legislative process where it is expected to fully pass the Senate. This comes shortly after House Bill 3208 was passed by the House in late March.
HB 3208 creates a two-year moratorium on cannabis business licensing for dispensaries, processors, and commercial growers in Oklahoma. A moratorium is a temporary prohibition of any activity. Once passed by the Senate, this prohibition of Oklahoma cannabis licenses will take effect on Aug 1.
According to House Bill 3208, “Beginning August 1, 2022, and ending August 1, 2024, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority shall, based on the number of current medical marijuana business licenses for dispensaries, processors, and commercial growers, declare and establish a moratorium on processing and issuing new medical marijuana business licenses for dispensaries, processors, and commercial growers”.
What Does HB 3208 Mean for OK Cannabis Business Owners?
Business owners in the Oklahoma cannabis industry will be affected by HB 3208 in different ways. If you already have an approved Oklahoma cannabis business license for a dispensary, processor, or commercial grower then there isn’t much you need to do.
Make sure you’re keeping up with your standard record-keeping procedures. Do an internal audit of all of your documentation and confirm you’ve submitted everything required by law. It’s also helpful to double-check with your contact at the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) for any updates or upcoming paperwork submission due dates.
How Do I Renew My OK Cannabis Business License Under HB 3208?
Luckily, the bill doesn’t create any changes to renewing a cannabis business license in Oklahoma. The renewal process still involves providing all of the necessary paperwork, but HB 3208 clearly states, “The provisions of this section shall not apply to the renewal of a medical marijuana business license for a dispensary, processor, or commercial grower under the processions of Section 427.14 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes”. This is great news for business owners who have been worried HB 3208 will affect their renewal.
Can I Transfer Ownership Of My OK Cannabis Business License Under HB 3208?
More good news for the cannabis industry in Oklahoma is that the new bill won’t stop you from transferring ownership. However, it’s important to note that changes in ownership can be denied. The bill states that the OMMA “shall be authorized to deny the request for issuance of a medical marijuana business license due to a change in ownership if the licensee is subject to any disciplinary action that may necessitate the renovation, suspension, or nonrenewable of the medical marijuana business license”.
The same rules apply to medical marijuana businesses that change locations. If you already have your business license but want to move to a different location, you need to be in good standing with the OMMA and complete all of the necessary paperwork. This is considered a change of business address, and therefore, it does not constitute the need for a new license application.
What Does HB 3208 Mean for Starting a Cannabis Business in OK?
The new cannabis licensing moratorium will make it more challenging for new players to get started in Oklahoma, but not impossible. Potential licensees have up until the Aug 1 deadline to submit their applications. Once the moratorium period begins, no new applications for licenses will be accepted until the period ends on Aug 1, 2024. Applications submitted before the deadline will continue to be reviewed and processed. This means we will see some new licenses get issued during the moratorium period.
For those wanting to start a cannabis business in Oklahoma after Aug 1, there’s still a chance of getting a license. The transfer of ownership stipulation will allow a current license holder to transfer a license to a new party. This is one way new players can get their foot in the door of the Oklahoma cannabis industry after the deadline closes.
There’s also a chance the moratorium could end early. The Executive Director of OMMA will have the authority to end the moratorium anytime during the two-year period. Should this happen, the OMMA will be likely to start accepting new license applications.
How Davis Business Law Can Help Your Company Grow
Navigating Oklahoma’s cannabis laws doesn’t need to be a challenge. Our attorneys are always happy to provide you with a free cannabis business audit and any needed cannabis legal advice. Contact us today here or give us a call at 866-950-7634 to start making your legal life simplified.
The content on this page has been reviewed and approved by Matthew Davis: CEO of Davis Business Law.