Medical marijuana companies in Oklahoma, facing the risk of losing their licenses due to delayed fire-safety inspections, have initiated a lawsuit against the state fire marshal, alleging a failure to conduct the necessary inspections in a timely manner for license renewals. The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 29 by three MMJ grows, aims to prevent penalties for businesses awaiting inspections and facing license non-renewal by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Control (OBN).
The OBN issued warnings to 2,176 cannabis businesses, nearly half of the 4,347 registered growers in the state, stating that their licenses were in jeopardy unless they could provide evidence of passing fire inspections. Despite some businesses requesting inspections as early as July, a number of them remain uninspected, according to Ronald Durbin, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, including Lucky Rhino Farms.
A hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for April 4, providing a legal avenue for growers seeking relief from potential license revocation. The narcotics bureau anticipates initiating administrative hearings, the precursor to revocation, in March or April. However, there is optimism that fire marshals will complete inspections before this timeline, according to OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward.
Once hailed as a thriving medical marijuana market with a business-friendly environment, Oklahoma is currently experiencing a contraction due to stricter regulations and a law enforcement backlash. Recent data indicates a more than 27% decrease in the number of active licensed businesses from 2023 to 2024. The outcome of the lawsuit could have implications for the affected growers and influence the regulatory landscape in the state's evolving medical marijuana industry.
This story was originally covered by MJBizDaily.