Lawsuit Against State Seeks To Curb Medical Marijuana Licensing Fees
TULSA, Oklahoma - A lawsuit was filed Friday on behalf of a Weatherford woman against the state of Oklahoma and several other groups in relation to the implementation of medical marijuana in the state.
The suit was filed on behalf of Weatherford residents Michael and Alicia Vargas, the latter of whom is a disabled veteran and medical marijuana patient license holder from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, according to a press release sent to News 9 by the Durbin Law Firm in Tulsa.
The suit was filed against the state of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Health, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Oklahoma Tax Commission with the purpose of ending additional license requirements and the collection of related fees and to end the over-collection of taxes from medical marijuana patients.
At issue are fees and taxes being put on medical marijuana license holders that are over-and-above what would comply with what was agreed upon as part of State Question 788, according to attorneys. In the firm's press release, they wrote:
After the adoption of 788 by voters in June, the Oklahoma Department of Health adopted rules which required OMMA business license holders to also register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. State Question 788 provided that all business licenses would be granted by the OMMA and fees were $2,500.00. The additional registration requirement with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics forced business license holders to pay approximately $500.00 more for a license they should not be required to obtain. As of October 15, 2018, the OMMA reports that 1,941 business license holders have been granted licenses. This additional licensing requirements will result in a windfall for the State of Oklahoma to the tune of almost one million dollars ($1,000,000.00).
The attorneys argue that under the statutory provisions emanating from the result of SQ 788, which the voters passed in June, no other entity than the Oklahoma Department of Health is allowed to take any action regarding implementation and regulation of medical marijuana in the state. That means, the attorneys further argue, that no municipality can add on to OSDH regulations with their own "restrictions, regulations, zoning overlays, fees or other restrictions related to the activities authorized" by SQ 788.
What the suit refers to are ordinances adopted by the city of Weatherford on Sept. 27, which would require businesses to obtain a permit from the city to operate a medical marijuana dispensary. The ordinance further gave the city of Weatherford the ability to "conduct random and unannounced examinations of the facility and all articles of the property in that facility."
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