A latest report from Tulsa World states that in response to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Harmful Medication (OBNDD), there are a pair thousand unlicensed medical hashish companies within the state. “We’ve acquired near 2,000 below investigation,” mentioned Mark Woodward, with the Public Data Workplace at OBNDD. “We’re working with our companions to determine the prison networks concerned.”
Woodward additionally commented that many of those licenses have been linked to criminal activity. Just lately in December 2022, 4 individuals have been killed “execution style” at a hashish cultivation facility in Kingfisher County, which is situated northwest of Oklahoma Metropolis. In line with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the homeowners of the ability had a medical cultivation license, however OBNDD brokers imagine that the license was obtained illegally.
Woodward mentioned that these working at unlawful cultivation websites are sometimes international nationals. “The one factor it did was it shined a light-weight on one thing we’ve been saying for the final 4 years,” Woodward said. “It’s the identical violent prison organizations.”
He added that 200 operations have been closed by native regulation enforcement up to now, however the OBNDD is making an attempt to trace the supply of prison exercise. However till that investigation yields outcomes, Woodward believes that Oklahoma’s medical hashish trade will proceed to endure. “One thing not talked about a lot is that the reputable trade is bleeding to dying,” Woodward added.
Final yr in March, individuals impersonating cops carried out faux search warrants at quite a few hashish cultivation websites, stealing 100 kilos of hashish, in addition to machines, money, and cell telephones. On the time, Woodward commented on the assaults on hashish companies because of the truth that hashish continues to be federally unlawful, and are pressured to primarily deal in money.
“These farms the place there are oftentimes Chinese language employees who don’t communicate English—they gained’t acknowledge conventional regulation enforcement,” Woodward told High Times. “They’re not aware of what Oklahoma regulation enforcement or what uniforms would possibly appear to be or what a fraudulent warrant seems like in comparison with reputable ones. And so these criminals rely on that. That’s why they focused these particular farms. They noticed it as a simple alternative to benefit from these employees and hit the farm and take product.”
Tulsa World shared that some individuals, similar to third District Congressman Frank Lucas, together with 20 different congress members, sent a letter in July 2022 to U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack concerning the acquisition of Oklahoma land by international events. In line with the letter, international land possession elevated “from 13,720 to 352,140 acres between 2010 and 2020.”
“We’re alarmed by the tempo at which Chinese language corporations have been buying U.S. agricultural land in recent times. Given this pattern, we need to make sure the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA) has the reporting instruments needed to offer People with the fullest attainable image of all international purchases of United States land,” the letter said.
In December 2021, there have been 9,400 licensed medical hashish cultivators. One yr later in December 2022 revealed a discount to 7,086 licenses. Presently, there’s a moratorium on new licenses, which went into effect in August 2022 and can finish someday round August 2024.
Medical hashish was legalized via a voter initiative in 2018, however the state’s low cost of entry (solely $2,500 yearly) for a hashish license opened the doorways to out-of-state events. A more recent invoice, House Bill 2179, was later handed by the governor in Could 2022 to extend the annual charges primarily based on the dimensions of a facility or a dispensary’s gross sales. In line with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, this doesn’t go into impact till June 1, 2023.
Though there have been quite a few makes an attempt to reign in unlawful hashish exercise in Oklahoma, advocates are March to legalize leisure hashish. Gov. Kevin Stitt set March 7 as the date for a special election the place the voter initiative will seem. If handed, State Query 820 would legalize adult-use hashish and permit hashish cultivation and gross sales.
“After all of the delays brought on by the brand new signature rely course of, we’re excited to lastly be on the poll on March 7, 2023, in order that Oklahomans can expertise the advantages of the State Query with out additional delay,” said Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Law Campaign Director Michelle Tilley. “We’re grateful the voices of over 164,000 Oklahomans who signed the petition and need to vote on legalizing leisure marijuana for adults in Oklahoma have been heard.”
Initially it was set to look within the November 2022 ballot, however the submitted signatures weren’t licensed in time.