Oklahoma has pushed back the start date for the moratorium on medical cannabis licenses to Aug. 26.
Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3208 into law May 26, which “implements a two-year moratorium on medical cannabis licensing, prohibiting regulators from issuing new cultivation, processing and retail licenses from August 2022 to August 2024,” Cannabis Business Times previously reported.
The moratorium was expected to start Aug. 1, but has been pushed back to Aug. 26. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) said in a press release that it made a mistake in interpreting the effective date of the legislation.
“The language in the bill states the moratorium begins Aug. 1, but the bill itself did not earn enough votes in the Oklahoma Legislature to take effect until Aug. 26—the state has a two-thirds vote requirement for bills to take effect sooner than 90 days after adjournment. As a result, the moratorium cannot begin until the legislation takes effect,” the OMMA said.
The moratorium does not apply to existing grower, processor, or dispensary licenses. Existing license holders can apply to renew their licenses at any time, according to the release.
OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry said the organization originally interpreted the bill without considering the vote count.
“We’re double-checking every piece of legislation affecting OMMA from the last legislative session to ensure this won’t be repeated,” Berry said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard, and we fell short in this instance. We hope the transparency in our message today is evidence that we take seriously the trust Oklahomans place in OMMA.”
The moratorium will end Aug. 1, 2024, unless Berry has finished reviewing all pending applications.