The Oklahoma legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk on Friday that allows out-of-state residents to obtain temporary medical marijuana licenses that last for up to three months and also provides for legal cannabis delivery services.
The legislation, HB 3228, is a comprehensive package containing various policy changes to the state’s medical marijuana program. It would further remove a provision that requires people who aren’t registered cannabis patients to state a valid medical condition if caught possessing marijuana in order to receive a reduced misdemeanor penalty.
If the new bill becomes law, any person, regardless of whether they have a medical condition, will face a misdemeanor punishable by up to $400 and no jail time for first-time possession without a medical cannabis card.
Out-of-state individuals could apply for temporary, 90-day medical cannabis patient licenses under the bill—even if they’re not a registered patient in their home state. Those licenses would be renewable.
Another provision celebrated by reform advocates makes it so that medical marijuana patient and caregiver records cannot be “shared with any other state agency or political subdivision without a warrant issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
The bill makes several other changes such as allowing patients to pay a late fee to get their registration renewed if they missed the deadline by more than 30 days but fewer than 90 days.
For the delivery section, the legislation states that licensed dispensaries can transport cannabis products to patients’ private residences as long as they are located within a 10-mile radius. If there aren’t any dispensaries in that range, a dispensary more than 10 miles away can still deliver products if they’re based in the same country as the residence.
An initial version of the bill passed 90-6 in the House of Representatives in March. On Friday, the Senate approved an amended version in a 38-5 vote, with the House signing off on the other chamber’s changes later in the evening. It now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) desk. The governor signed a bill establishing a regulatory framework for Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program last year after voters approved a legalization ballot measure in 2018.
Separate legislation that would prohibit the state’s firearms department from denying applications to purchase handguns due to a person’s participation in the state medical cannabis program is also set to be taken up by the House after unanimously passing the Senate in February. That bill stipulates that people can’t possess firearms while under the influence of marijuana.
Oklahoma activists filed a proposed ballot measure to legalize cannabis for adult use in December. Last month, a campaign staffer said they’re awaiting state Supreme Court approval to gather signatures but tempered expectations that it would be feasible to collect enough in the allotted timeframe due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A state lawmaker also said he would be introducing a bill to legalize recreational marijuana and argued it would “potentially be a revenue funder” to fill coffers diminished by the health crisis.