Oklahoma is apparently continuing its crackdown on the industry, with marijuana authorities issuing fines to 161 dispensaries – ranging from the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars – for allegedly violating limits on patient purchases. Regulators also are seeking to revoke the permits of 39 of the shops.
“Our agency recently filed petitions against 161 licensed dispensaries for sales over the legal limit. Of those 161 cases, 39 seek fines and revocation of licenses; 122 seek fines,” the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority said in a statement to KFOR News 4 on Friday. “Enforcing legal limits on sales is essential to maintaining the integrity of our medical market, preventing unauthorized use or distribution, and controlling oversupply.”
The purchase limit – 84 grams, or three ounces, in a single transaction – is what the OMMA is contending was violated, KFOR reported.
That led to fines that ranged between $5,000 for one dispensary owner and $30,000 for another business owner who has three dispensaries. The alleged violations took place between January and May of this year.
“It’s also a crisis to the business owners to get fined so much that it’s shutting people’s door is it’s costing them their livelihood. I’ve been in this five years and in November … I don’t have $30,000 to pay a fine on top of raising other permits and stuff, too,” dispensary owner Cynthia Myers told KFOR News 4.
The fines are threatening to shut down some of the dispensary owners who don’t have the money to pay, another industry source that spoke to Green Market Report said, who added that there had been a number of dispensaries fined between $20,000 and $35,000 – and rumors were that some fines were even higher than that.
“$35k could bankrupt an Oklahoma dispensary,” the source said. “A lot of them are smaller stores with a handful of products and sales. There are over 2,700 dispensaries for a population of under 4 million in Oklahoma.”
Industry advocates also question how the dispensary operators can even defend themselves without more details from the state’s track-and-trace system, which is run by Florida-based METRC, KFOR reported.
Many that received notices from the OMMA have court dates on Nov. 8.