Illegal Marijuana Grows In Oklahoma Lead To Legislation Forcing Foreign Landowners Out Of The State

The State Senator behind the bill said it's specifically illegal marijuana grows that have set off a chain reaction of events inside Oklahoma's statehouse.

Saturday, March 16th 2024, 11:37 pm



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Pushing foreign governments out of Oklahoma is the focus of one proposed bill at the state capitol, with similar legislation also on the table in D.C.

The State Senator behind the bill said it's specifically illegal marijuana grows that have set off a chain reaction of events inside Oklahoma's statehouse.

Lawmakers are now trying to set back the foreign influences believed to be responsible.

The new language would squeeze tighter as Oklahoma tries to remove foreign landowners from the state.

Senate Bill 1705 was filed by State Senator Brent Howard and follows another bill passed last year requiring an affidavit attached to the deed of purchase.

"That verification process so foreign land ownership doesn't come in," said State Senator Howard (R-Altus). "Because we have a constitutional prohibition on foreigns being able to own land within our state."

The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says 1.7 million acres of land in Oklahoma belong to foreign owners.

Canada ranks near the top -- with its citizens owning nearly 900,000 acres.

"What's driven it most home in Oklahoma and the need for this legislation is the medical marijuana side," State Senator Howard said. "And part of that, as it what passed by ballot initiative, is you had to be an Oklahoma resident and lawfully in Oklahoma."

In 2022, a quadruple homicide at an illegal marijuana grow in Kingfisher County made national news.

Investigators say it involved a group of Chinese nationals.

News 9's Alex Cameron spoke with U.S. Representative Frank Lucas this week about a similar bill at the federal level.

"But my bill will make it easier for the state to figure out where these farm properties are on and who owns them," U.S. Rep Lucas said. "And that information, I believe, will then be used by state authorities to enforce Oklahoma law."

Lucas says foreign land ownership isn't only a matter of public safety, but also national security.

At the state capitol, Howard says there's plenty of support for the bill.

News 9 reached out to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics about this bill.

A spokesperson says they are following it but it's too early for the agency to have a formal opinion on it.

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