It is now legal to have marijuana for medicinal purposes in Oklahoma. However, Governor Mary Fallin and the State Board of Health have taken emergency measures to weaken the new law, and there are still many unanswered questions about how criminal enforcement of marijuana laws will proceed. How will the medical marijuana law affect Oklahoma residents? Read on for more information about how medical marijuana users can protect themselves in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma's Medical Marijuana Law
Medical marijuana became legal in Oklahoma on July 11, 2018, making it the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medical reasons. Unlike other states, which delineate specific diseases and problems that can be treated with medical marijuana, Oklahoma law allows physicians broad discretion in prescribing marijuana to their patients.
- Legal cannabis patients will receive a special ID card stating they are allowed to possess three ounces of cannabis in public and store up to eight ounces at home.
- The law allows each person to cultivate six mature plants and six seedlings.
- A person may possess up to one ounce of cannabis concentrates and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused edible products.
- Patients may also designate a caregiver to grow or purchase marijuana for them.
- The state will now need to adopt a licensing scheme for medical cannabis cultivation, dispensing, and processing businesses. Those businesses will pay a 7% retail tax on medical cannabis sales.
The Oklahoma State Board of Health's Restrictions on Medical Marijuana
The Oklahoma State Board of Health and Governor Fallin acted quickly to limit the law's reach. Most significantly, the Board refused to permit dispensaries to sell dried leafs and joints. In other words, it is still illegal to smoke marijuana cigarettes if purchased at a dispensary, even if a person has a doctor's prescription. The Board defended its actions by stating it could not endorse any form of smoking. However, a similar restriction was recently declared unconstitutional in Florida.
The Board of Health also made the controversial decision to limit the amount of THC in legal marijuana products sold in dispensaries, which will not be able to contain more than 12% THC, the psychoactive element in marijuana.
The dispensaries are required to have a pharmacist on the premises. This obviously does not impact an individual's use of marijuana in their own home.
The potency rules will be problematic for patients, who usually receive prescriptions for specific products containing a higher percentage of THC. According to the emergency rules, mature marijuana plants should not have a TCH content over more than 20%. Activists believe this will be a problem, since most cannabis flowers contain anywhere from 12% to 30% THC. Cannabis concentrates contain even higher amounts of THC.
Key Takeaway: For now, medical cannabis patients should not plan on smoking their marijuana, as they may be subjected to criminal penalties.
How Oklahoma's Medical Marijuana Law Impacts Criminal Law
Marijuana possession and sale are illegal in Oklahoma unless the person has a physician's prescription. That means that possession and sale of marijuana remain illegal, with penalties of up to 20 years in prison. The following list shows the penalties for marijuana sale, possession and trafficking.
Possession of Marijuana
- First offense is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in jail or a $10,000 fine. As of July 1, 2017, all simple possession charges are considered misdemeanors—even if the person has prior drug offenses on their record.
- The 2018 medical marijuana law as approved by voters protects cannabis patients who did not yet go through the process of applying for and receiving an identification card. People who are caught with 1.5 ounces of cannabis or less who can "state a medical condition" that they use the marijuana for can only be given a misdemeanor offense, punishable by no more than a $400 fine.
- If a person is caught within 1,000 feet of a school, or has the cannabis in the presence of a child under age 12, penalties may be doubled. Subsequent offenses may triple the penalties.
Cultivation of Marijuana
- Oklahoma makes it illegal to cultivate, or grow, marijuana, or to allow someone else to use your house or property to grow marijuana.
- Cultivation is a felony, punishable by up to a $50,000 fine and imprisonment for a minimum of two years.
- Second and subsequent offenses are punishable by up to four years, and a $100,000 fine. People convicted of second or subsequent felony offenses are not eligible for parole.
- Trafficking marijuana includes knowingly distributing, manufacturing, bringing it into the state, and possessing large quantities of marijuana in the amounts set by the state.
- Those caught with 25 or more pounds could receive up to two years in prison and a fine of $25,000 to $100,000. Those caught with 1,000 pounds or more can be charged with aggravated trafficking; which is punishable by four years in prison and a fine of $100,000 to $500,000.
- Trafficking which happens within 2,000 feet of a school or public park subject the offender to double the fines and imprisonment.
- Marijuana also remains illegal at the federal level. See the Controlled Substances Act for more information.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Oklahoma
Oklahoma still has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence, so drivers can expect to be cited for driving under the influence of marijuana, even if the person has an ID card. The penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana are the same as driving under the influence of alcohol: first-time offenders could receive 10 days to a year for a misdemeanor in district court, and up to six months in jail if it is a misdemeanor in municipal court.
Contact an Oklahoma Lawyer Experienced in Criminal Law
The laws regarding medical marijuana in Oklahoma are in a state of flux. The legislature will have to convene to issue the appropriate regulations. If you have questions about medical marijuana in Oklahoma, talking to a criminal lawyer will ensure you are protected under the law. Contact our office, or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) to speak with one of our highly-skilled criminal defense lawyers. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.