New Guidelines For Medical Marijuana Set To Take Effect
TULSA, Oklahoma - New marijuana testing requirements are set to take effect in a couple of months.
It's part of a slew of rules and guidelines finalized late last year. Starting April first all marijuana sold by a grower or processor will need to be tested by an Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority licensed lab. These requirements took effect last year, but aren't being enforced until April 1st.
That's because Oklahoma's leaders needed to make sure labs were properly licensed.
Until last year, labs were licensed by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The new changes give that power over to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority - or OMMA.
"These rules were technically in effect August 29th, but you can't test with an OMMA license laboratory if those don't exist," Tulsa Attorney Ron Durbin said.
Now, the OMMA has ten fully licensed labs. They say there are many more in different stages of the licensing process. Durbin says the industry will see drastic changes.
"Right now you have a lot of dispensaries, and really growers and processors that have been trying to skirt the system, and are not testing their products," Durbin said.
Durbin says most growers and processors follow the rules, but these new guidelines will stop those who purposefully try to break the law.
"Additionally it'll allow patients to have information related to the marijuana products they're buying, the terpene levels, making sure it's not full of heavy metals, pesticides," Durbin said.
He says there are some negatives though. The testing sample amount is high, and the labs have to collect the samples themselves which could allow cross-contamination. There are also logistic hurdles, which could drive up the cost for patients, especially in rural areas.
But, Durbin says overall the new law is positive for the industry.
"Most businesses are extremely happy about the testing requirements and that OMMA is going to start enforcing that," Durbin said.
He says lawmakers still need to iron out some of the problems with the new rules. He hopes they'll do that this session.