Unity Bill key points
House Bill 2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, commonly called the “Unity Bill,” is expected to cost nearly $10 million in its first year. It was created after multiple meetings and presentations before a bipartisan medical marijuana working group.
Among the most controversial aspects of the measure is a provision allowing employers in “safety-sensitive” fields to inquire whether employees have medical marijuana licenses. These positions include firefighting, handling hazardous materials, and operating motor vehicles and heavy machinery.
The measure grants express rule-making power to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, part of the state Health Department, and allows it to employ its own investigators to look into alleged violations.
• Multiple bills would address which physicians may sign a medical marijuana recommendation.
• SB 305 would update the section regarding employee protections for those with patient licenses, adding safety-sensitive jobs (including handling food) and clarifying the actions employers can take regarding positive drug tests.
• SB 307 would update the section on state taxes, adding that local/county sales taxes may be levied, and removes language pertaining to the specific percentages of revenue surpluses that go toward common education and substance abuse treatment programs.
• Multiple bills address advertising and packaging so as not to make medical marijuana attractive or accessible to children.
By the numbers
• Medical marijuana dispensary sales (totaling $11.5 million for Jan.-Feb. 2019) have generated more than $2 million in tax revenue through February 2019: $890,339 from the 7 percent gross receipts tax and another $1,272,060 from the 4.5 percent state sales tax in addition to other local sales taxes.
• As of March 11, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has licensed 63,647 patients, 412 caregivers, 1,109 dispensaries, 1,972 growers and 553 processors.
• So far, Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry has generated $10.2 million in licensing fees from cannabis businesses, and about $6 million in licensing fees from patient license applications.
Sources: Oklahoma Tax Commission, OMMA