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More on the 'Unity Bill' and medical marijuana in Oklahoma

More on the 'Unity Bill' and medical marijuana in Oklahoma

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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.

Trailer bills

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


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