OBN Director Speaks On Public Safety Hazard Illegal Marijuana Grows Present

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics expects to shut down more illegal marijuana operations, if growers lack occupancy certificates at the time of license renewals.

Friday, October 13th 2023, 9:07 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said it expects to shut down more illegal marijuana grow operations in the coming months. 

OBN's director says he is doing the best they can with the resources they have. These grow operations also present a public safety concern. “Oklahoma’s a very, very important part of the puzzle of what’s going on,” said Donnie Anderson, director of OBN. 

Since 2021, Anderson and his team of 25 agents have been busy. “We’ve over seven hundred pounds of marijuana; shut down over eight hundred grows,” Anderson said.  

Anderson said a majority of the black-market marijuana in New York comes from Oklahoma. He said his agency needs help keeping up with all of Oklahoma’s illegal operations. Last month, Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced an organized crime task force to combat the problem. “We’re gonna need the extra help,” Anderson said. 

In Anderson’s eyes, illegal marijuana operations produce more than a plant. “It should be a concern to people,” Anderson said. “It’s absolutely a public safety hazard. That’s why the state statute is there to begin with.”  

On Tuesday, OBN agents seized more than 45,000 marijuana plants in Love County. Illegal grows don’t follow state building code guidelines. The facility in Love County placed one of their agents in danger. “One of our agents got electrocuted,” Anderson said. Anderson said growers should have documents showing their buildings are up to code. “What we discovered is that none of these people had a certificate of occupancy.”  

Anderson said all grow operations will have to have this certificate when they renew their license this year. “I think that’s going to have a drastic toll on a lot of these grows,” Anderson said. Anderson believes this because he said they won’t pass any inspection. 

Anderson said that enforcement shows the most promise for the future. “You do have to maintain enforcement,” Anderson said. “We actually see light at the end of the tunnel with this deal.”  


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