Imagine if your state government proposed a law limiting the number of restaurants in the state. The proposed law would set a total number of licenses that they would allow, required an average of $5,000 gross monthly sales, and increased the cost of starting up a business. For a franchise, this hardly seems like a problem, but for a new restaurant, it automatically sets you up for failure.
Now replace the word restaurant with cannabis license. This is exactly what will happen if HB 2272 passes in the Oklahoma Senate.
According to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, there are more than 10,500 active cannabis business licenses as of March 2021. This includes, everything from grow licenses, to dispensaries, to waste management and laboratories.
However, HB 2272 dictates, "The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority shall promulgate rules and regulations whereby, in the event that the total number of active medical marijuana dispensary licenses authorized in the State of Oklahoma combined with the total number of convertible business license vouchers issued in that category falls at or below one thousand nine hundred in number, the Authority shall, within ninety (90) days, accept, for a period of thirty (30) days from the date the application window opens, new applications for a medical marijuana dispensary business license voucher as provided for in Section 4 of this act."
In plain English, this means no new business licenses would be issued until the number of active licenses goes from 10,500 to 1,900 or below.
That large of a cut should be enough to raise a red flag on its own, however, taking a look beyond the numbers makes the reality much more terrifying. According to KGOU, there are nearly 17,000 jobs in the medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma alone. HB 2272 would not only cut licenses but those jobs as well.
With the economy just now recovering from the damage done by COVID-19, is cutting jobs in an industry that remained steady during a recession a smart move?
No matter how you try to look at it, HB 2272 is designed to force small cannabis businesses to fail. By increasing the starting costs and demanding a new business make a minimum of $5,000 every month, it pushes small business owners out of the market. HB 2272 creates an overreach of power, punishes small businesses, and will take jobs away from Oklahoma workers.
To contact your senators in Oklahoma, please visit the Oklahoma Senate website here.