Yo, what up, fam? Check it out, there’s some major drama going down in Oklahoma. This cannabis activist named Jeb Green, founder of Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action, done teamed up with three medical marijuana dispensaries to file a lawsuit against these whack-ass regulatory fees that just went into effect. They’re saying this is straight-up unconstitutional, man. The dispensaries involved in this legal battle are Pharside, Oklahoma Natural Cures, and Bingo 101.
So here’s the deal. The governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, who rolls with the Republican crew, signed this law called House Bill 2179 (HB 2179) back in May 2022. This law jacked up the fees that the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) charges to all the legit medical marijuana businesses in the state. Before this messed-up law, these operators only had to pay a flat fee of $2,500 for each business. But thanks to HB 2179, which came into effect on June 1 this year, the fees shot up like crazy. Now those big-time weed cultivators gotta shell out up to $50,000 a year.
But hold up! This lawsuit they filed last week is claiming that these fee increases are unconstitutional. They say that according to the laws of Oklahoma, any bill that raises revenue has to get a 75% majority vote from both the Senate and the House of Representatives. And guess what? HB 2179 didn’t get that supermajority vote and it was passed during the last five days of the legislative session when revenue-raising bills aren’t even supposed to go through!
The plaintiffs in this case are arguing that HB 2179 ain’t just a regular old regulatory bill. Nah, man, it’s all about making that paper. They say it’s all about raising revenue instead of adding any new regulations that need funding. And they’re not afraid to call it out, saying, “Even if licensing fees provide some financial support to the OMMA, those fees are not closely tied to the cost of service for which they are imposed.” Damn right, it’s all about that cash flow!
These guys are saying that these fee hikes will rake in at least $28,580,000 each year for the OMMA. And that’s just the minimum, bro. There could be even more money pouring in ’cause the size of the operation determines which fee tier these companies fall into.
But wait, there’s more! They’re also claiming that HB 2179 is violating the Oklahoma Constitution. And on top of that, they’re calling it a discriminatory “special law” ’cause it’s got this tiered fee structure for some businesses but not others. Straight-up unfair, man.
According to Green, this lawsuit is about more than just weed. It’s about everyone in Oklahoma. He’s asking the court to listen up and consider their plea. Green says, “Our medical marijuana program has been making bank since Day One. It’s brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the last five years. We don’t need these license fee hikes to support regulation.” Preach!
Now, this HB 2179 ain’t the only law messing with Oklahoma’s medical marijuana scene. Remember when they tried to legalize recreational weed? Yeah, that didn’t work out. So instead, lawmakers decided to go all strict on the medical marijuana providers. They introduced a bunch of bills proposing tighter regulations, and guess what? Nine of those got approved and signed into law by Stitt himself.
One of those laws is SB 18X, and get this: it creates a Medical Marijuana Tax Fund controlled by the state legislature. All the tax money collected from medical marijuana sales will go into this fund and the OMMA can ask for some of that cash to do its thing.
So there you have it, folks. This lawsuit is heating up the Oklahoma cannabis scene. Jeb Green and these dispensaries ain’t playing around. They’re standing up for what they believe in and fighting for their rights. Let’s hope the court sees things their way and shuts down these bogus fee increases.
Stay tuned, ’cause this fight ain’t over yet. The cannabis industry in Oklahoma is ready to rumble, and they won’t back down without a fight. Peace out, y’all!