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Oklahoma House approves expanding nonresident medical marijuana licenses

Marijuana is shown in 2019 at a growing facility in Hollis. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]
Marijuana is shown in 2019 at a growing facility in Hollis. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

The Oklahoma House on Thursday approved extending the length of medical marijuana licenses granted to out-of-state residents.

On a vote of 52-32, the House approved legislation to extend nonresident medical marijuana licenses from 30 days to two years.

House Bill 2022 from Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, would also open nonresident medical marijuana licenses up to residents from all 50 states. Currently, only medical marijuana license holders from other states with medical marijuana programs are eligible for a nonresident license to buy, use and grow medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

"It does allow people in all 50 states to come to the state of Oklahoma for their medical needs," he said.

Medical marijuana licenses for Oklahoma residents last for two years, so HB 2022 would change nonresident licenses to match up.

“There are patients out there that need longer opportunities, whether they have cancer or some other medical issue, so I felt it was necessary to just extend that out so they’re not having to constantly renew that license,” he said.

To qualify, a nonresident would have to get approval from an Oklahoma doctor and pay $200 for a license that would have to be approved by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.

The House also approved House Bill 2023 to allow medical marijuana businesses to transfer their license in the event of a change of ownership.

Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, expressed concerns that some medical marijuana companies could create a local monopolies by picking up numerous licenses from other medical marijuana businesses.

"We live in a free-market world," Fetgatter said. "Businesses change hands all the time. I don't know why, all of a sudden, it's just a concern about who may or may not come purchase a marijuana business."

Both bills will go to the state Senate for approval.

House members struck down the emergency clauses attached to the bills, meaning the bills could not take effect immediately upon being signed by the governor. The House could vote again on the emergency provisions at a later date.

Carmen Forman

Carmen Forman covers the state Capitol and governor's office for The Oklahoman. A Norman native and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she previously covered state politics in Virginia and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma. Read more ›