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Seeking clarity

Oklahoma Gazette asked Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority several commonly asked questions about the state’s medical cannabis program.

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  • Lab testing requirements for medical cannabis and related products will become effective later this year.

Oklahoma Gazette submitted a list of questions regarding the current state of Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program to the Oklahoma State Department of Health based on the most common reader questions. Here are the responses, compiled by a number of Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority employees.

Oklahoma Gazette: Can dispensaries still sell to patients when the OMMA license verification website is offline?

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority: Dispensaries are required to verify licenses at the point of sale but are not specifically required to use the OMMA license verification website to do so. Dispensaries can continue to sell to patients when the verification site is down due to maintenance or system updates. However, dispensaries should still verify the license by other methods, including checking another form of identification against the medical marijuana license.

OKG: Are dispensaries required to confirm patients with a second form of identification or to keep records of secondary forms of ID (for example, photocopying a patient’s drivers license)?

OMMA: State Question 788 and the OMMA rules, OAC 310:681, only permit transfers of medical marijuana between valid license holders. It is the responsibility of dispensaries to ensure they sell or transfer medical marijuana to only valid patient or caregiver license holders. OMMA rules do not expressly require that dispensaries check or keep records of a secondary form of identification. However, it is recommended that they do so.

OMMA’s permanent rules, which are expected to go into effect later this summer, will require all commercial establishments to verify and ensure that all medical marijuana transactions are conducted with license holders and take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent the sale or other transfer of medical marijuana to a person or entity who does not hold a valid, unexpired license issued by the department. This includes verification of the photo on the patient or caregiver license.

OKG: Can dispensaries provide free products or samples to patients?

OMMA: OMMA rules do not expressly prohibit dispensaries from providing free products or samples. However, dispensaries should ensure they are in compliance with all applicable Oklahoma laws when doing so. This includes, but is not limited to, the following applicable rules:

· Free products or samples may only be provided to Oklahoma medical marijuana license holders on the premises of the licensed dispensary.

· On-site consumption of medical marijuana or medical marijuana products at the dispensary is prohibited pursuant to OAC 310:681-5-18(a). This includes the entire licensed premises of the dispensary, including outside areas.

· All sales from OMMA dispensaries must be taxed and reported in accordance with OAC 310:681-5-7.

· All free products or samples provided to license holders must be tracked by the electronic inventory management system that commercial licensees are required to maintain pursuant to OAC 310:681-5-6(c).

· All free products or samples provided to license holders must be reported in the monthly report submitted to OMMA pursuant to OAC 310:681-5-6(a).

OKG: Can dispensaries grind and pre-roll cannabis before selling it to patients? If no, then what prohibits that?

OMMA: SQ788 only provides authority to processors to process medical marijuana into other forms for consumption. While we do not currently see a legal framework that allows dispensaries to grind or pre-roll, OMMA will continue to educate businesses during our compliance efforts and evaluate this issue and related implications for monthly reporting, diversion and other regulatory issues.

OKG: Where can cannabis be consumed by licensed patients?

OMMA: OMMA rules prohibit the consumption of medical marijuana and medical marijuana products on the premises of commercial licensees (OAC 310:681-5-18(a)). Additionally, there may be restrictions for consumption of medical marijuana related to other factors such as the municipality, residence or employer of the licensed patient. 

OKG: When can patients expect to see product testing and required lab results on edible cannabis products and flower?

OMMA: Edible medical marijuana products are currently required to meet testing, packaging and labeling requirements as stated in OAC 310:681-5-8.1. Requirements for all medical marijuana and medical marijuana products to be tested by a laboratory as required in House Bill 2612 will likely become effective in late summer or fall 2019, shortly after the new legislation becomes effective.

OKG: When will seed-to-sale tracking be implemented?

OMMA: It is anticipated that the completion of the state procurement procedures, along with the development, customization, testing, roll-out to businesses and integration of the selected software into current software programs and procedures, will take approximately 12-18 months.

OKG: What is being done to combat out-of-state products from entering Oklahoma?

OMMA: The OMMA receives complaints through the complaint form found on the OMMA website at omma.ok.gov/compliance-information as well as direct referrals from law enforcement or other agencies/municipalities. When the OMMA receives complaints that dispensaries are selling product that was allegedly not grown in Oklahoma, OMMA escalates such claims to internal OMMA auditors and other state and local authorities for further investigation. OMMA-licensed businesses are required to report monthly on the quantity, sources and sale of all medical marijuana produced. In the event a licensee obtains medical marijuana product that was not grown in Oklahoma, this would be viewed as an unlawful purchase and sale as well as criminal activity (if the product was transported across state lines). OMMA has been working closely with state and local law enforcement agencies to link their investigation results with penalties applicable under the OMMA’s authority.

OKG: When will the OMMA call center again be accepting phone calls?

OMMA: OMMA continues to evaluate its capacity to fully operate a call center while processing all applications within 14 calendar days. OMMA does offer a number of ways for individuals to contact staff listed at omma.ok.gov/contact.

OKG: What are the disciplinary actions if a dispensary is found not to have a food license after April 26?

OMMA: Inspectors from the Oklahoma State Department of Health will be completing inspections of OMMA-licensed dispensaries and processors starting this summer, which will include checking for compliance with food licensing. Failure to obtain a food license in accordance with state law could result in administrative action, which could include an order to cease and desist operations, administrative fines or other penalties authorized under law.

OKG: What does Senate Bill 162 mean for patients, and how does it affect the OMMA?

OMMA: SB162 removes the requirement for recommending physicians to be board-certified in addition to holding a valid license as an M.D. or D.O. in the state of Oklahoma. This change means that patients do not have to ensure their recommending physician is board-certified and OMMA will no longer be requiring or verifying information regarding physicians’ board certification. OMMA has made temporary changes to the physician recommendation form and the application procedures to accommodate this change. However, permanent changes will be implemented following the adjournment of the current legislative session as additional legislative changes are possible. Patients can visit omma.ok.gov for more information and instructions.

OKG: Do Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protections applying to OMMA cardholders?

OMMA: HIPAA protections do not apply to OMMA cardholders because the OMMA is not a covered entity subject to HIPAA regulations under federal law. However, patient and caregiver information is protected by state law under 63 O.S. § 420(A)(J), which seals all application records and information.  

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