The state has issued more than 8,000 licenses, well above the needs of the Oklahoma market.
Law enforcement agencies say they suspect criminal operations are smuggling out marijuana for illegal sale outside the state. Such criminal enterprises attract other crimes, such as human trafficking and underground weapons sales.
We think legislators are on the right track with proposals to strengthen tracking, inspection and enforcement. The critical balancing point here is that the effort must be to regulate a legal industry, not stifle it.
New measures include the Oklahoma Tax Commission’s collecting and auditing taxes among cannabis businesses and bigger enforcement staffs for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
More information, such as the level of foreign and out-of-state investors, will be collected from those businesses.
A pending lawsuit has stalled a seed-to-sale tracking system, but some mechanism for knowing where marijuana is being produced, in what quantity and where it ends up is crucial to keeping Oklahoma’s marijuana business legit. It’s the most basic way of ensuring that what is grown in Oklahoma remains here and is used as envisioned by SQ 788.
The medical marijuana industry is here to stay, but, like all industries, it will have to deal with government efforts designed to protect the public and make sure everyone is playing within the rules.