Attorney announces intent to sue after Oklahoma governor signs bill on medical marijuana waste disposal procedures

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steross

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Attorney announces intent to sue after Oklahoma governor signs bill on medical marijuana waste disposal procedures
By Samantha Vicent Tulsa World 14 hrs ago


A Tulsa attorney said he plans to sue after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill requiring commercial medical cannabis licensees to work with a waste disposal company when they need to discard certain products.

But the bill’s House sponsor and a cannabis industry lobbyist who helped craft its current language said the measure gives businesses needed guidance on remaining in legal compliance.

Stitt on Thursday signed Senate Bill 882, called the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Waste Management Act, which establishes policies for applying for and obtaining a medical marijuana waste disposal license. The act allows for the issuance of 10 waste disposal licenses, which will cost $5,000 each, but has a provision indicating more licenses can be authorized after the first year if necessary.



It also amends a small portion of House Bill 2612, commonly known as the “Unity Bill” that will take effect by Aug. 31, to exclude cannabis roots, stems, stalks and fan leaves from the definition of “medical marijuana waste.”

Most of the bill takes effect Nov. 1, but an emergency clause authorizes the destruction of those four items by open burning, incineration, composting, mulching, burying or another method approved by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Prior to the passage of SB 882, they could have fallen under the requirements for disposal through a third-party company.

However, Tulsa attorney Ron Durbin said in an interview on Friday that he plans to file a lawsuit over SB 882 because he believes it is unconstitutional. He contended the bill in practice will single out 10 companies for “disparate treatment” over other groups, which will cause product prices to increase while a select few get an unfair advantage.

Durbin said the bill opens the door for the companies selected to wrongly force businesses to sign multi-year contracts and gives the OMMA, which will have authority to select companies, too much power. He also said the definition of waste is overbroad because it uses the word “debris,” which he thinks the OMMA can define as it sees fit.

“It’s an industry that was not needed,” Durbin said, adding: “It’s like playing a football game without knowing what the rules are.”

He noted that businesses already have to abide by stringent rules from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the Oklahoma Tax Commission and local government ordinances.







State Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, said he believed SB 882 is a good bill that protects businesses from liability without infringing on the rights of homegrowers. Fetgatter, who was the House sponsor of SB 882, said the waste disposal company would handle items such as cannabis that fell on the floor, is too old for medical use or failed product testing.

Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, is the Senate sponsor and the former director of the OBNDD.

“We wouldn’t allow a pharmacy, for example, to just toss their expired opioids in the garbage so somebody could come by and pick them up,” Fetgatter said. “This is another way we are working to prevent diversion that hurts our legitimate law-abiding marijuana businesses.”

Bud Scott, who leads the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association trade group, said his organization worked with Fetgatter to improve the bill by having the definition of “waste” amended. Scott, who is also part of the OMMA Food Safety Standards Board, said the added incorporation of the DEQ’s disposal rules into SB 882 gives businesses more options on how to dispose of unwanted and unneeded items.

“The way it was originally drafted was that the only form of compliance (monitoring) was through OBNDD rules and the only way to dispose of it would be incineration,” he said, adding that his organization did not write or push for the bill. “Really, there’s no fear of diversion from roots, stalks and stems. There’s no viable use for some of these products.”

But Durbin questioned how the companies would be chosen to receive waste disposal licenses, saying he believes they will go to those owed “political favors” or “made campaign contributions to the right people.” SB 882 does not explicitly specify how they should be selected or create a merit-based structure, but it specifies what information should be provided on applications.

“You’ll have Joe Blow who has $5,000 versus someone who’s got political connections and is a big campaign contributor,” Durbin said. “I’m going to put my money on the big campaign contributor getting the license.”

Though neither Fetgatter nor Scott said they were in favor of imposing a 10-license limit, both pointed out that the state can remove the cap a year after the bill takes effect.

Both men also denied Durbin’s claims about contributions or political favors playing any role in the process.
 

steross

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Looks like "free market" Gov Stitt is maintaining the Oklahoma good ol' boy club by creating a regulatory burden on an industry, charging a huge fee for licensure, then limiting the people able to provide the service to a few, who of course will be politically-connected friends able to charge what they want by government-created scarcity.
 

kaboy42

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He noted that businesses already have to abide by stringent rules from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the Oklahoma Tax Commission and local government ordinances.
LOL... Welcome to the world of regulated industry "medicinal" marijuana. :lol:

The pharma/biotech scoffs at your puny little list of state and local red tape.
 

steross

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LOL... Welcome to the world of regulated industry "medicinal" marijuana. :lol:

The pharma/biotech scoffs at your puny little list of state and local red tape.
It isn't a complaint about the comparative levels of regulation. It is a complaint about the fact that this law was clearly designed against any free market principle and is a way to enrich a few government-favored people at the expense of others. Labelled as income redistribution, socialism, etc when done by the other party but somehow not a concern when done by the one people here like.
 
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I don't have a problem with putting the guidelines in place. The $5K licence fee isn't out of line. A lot of people would be surprised by the review fees that DEQ charges for just about anything. The part of the bill that really stands out is the limit of 10 licenses. I don't see why there should be any cap on the number of licenses issued. Hopefully this lawsuit will lead to the cap being removed.
 

wrenhal

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I'll look at it this way. They deregulated some of the items so that they're no longer considered medical waste and then probably according to federal guidelines whatever is left as medical waste has to be disposed of properly and because it has to be disposed of properly there will be the necessary evil of making sure that the companies that haul it off are correctly licensed and regulated in the way that they are disposing of said waste. That way the state can meet those federal guidelines.

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steross

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I'll look at it this way. They deregulated some of the items so that they're no longer considered medical waste and then probably according to federal guidelines whatever is left as medical waste has to be disposed of properly and because it has to be disposed of properly there will be the necessary evil of making sure that the companies that haul it off are correctly licensed and regulated in the way that they are disposing of said waste. That way the state can meet those federal guidelines.

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Not sure I agree that Federal guidelines would apply to a something that by Federal law isn't even supposed to be possessed, but let's say that is correct, why only 10 licenses?
 

wrenhal

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I'll look at it this way. They deregulated some of the items so that they're no longer considered medical waste and then probably according to federal guidelines whatever is left as medical waste has to be disposed of properly and because it has to be disposed of properly there will be the necessary evil of making sure that the companies that haul it off are correctly licensed and regulated in the way that they are disposing of said waste. That way the state can meet those federal guidelines.

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Not sure I agree that Federal guidelines would apply to a something that by Federal law isn't even supposed to be possessed, but let's say that is correct, why only 10 licenses?
Because we have no earthly idea how much waste there will be and so they are going to open it up for the 10 and when they discover they need more they'll add more.

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wrenhal

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I'll look at it this way. They deregulated some of the items so that they're no longer considered medical waste and then probably according to federal guidelines whatever is left as medical waste has to be disposed of properly and because it has to be disposed of properly there will be the necessary evil of making sure that the companies that haul it off are correctly licensed and regulated in the way that they are disposing of said waste. That way the state can meet those federal guidelines.

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Not sure I agree that Federal guidelines would apply to a something that by Federal law isn't even supposed to be possessed, but let's say that is correct, why only 10 licenses?
And anything that's considered medical waste has specific guidelines to follow at the federal level.

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steross

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Because we have no earthly idea how much waste there will be and so they are going to open it up for the 10 and when they discover they need more they'll add more.

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Why don't we do this for other industries? Doesn't that create an unfair business advantage for the original 10? Why not let the market decide how many are needed instead of the government? I always thought you were quite the free market conservative, when the change of style to such strong government oversight of the market?
 

wrenhal

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Because we have no earthly idea how much waste there will be and so they are going to open it up for the 10 and when they discover they need more they'll add more.

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Why don't we do this for other industries? Doesn't that create an unfair business advantage for the original 10? Why not let the market decide how many are needed instead of the government? I always thought you were quite the free market conservative, when the change of style to such strong government oversight of the market?
I'm just saying that federal guidelines exist for medical waste and they gave to be met. As far as the companies, it's probably gonna be ones already in existence for other types of disposal. I can't imagine there's that many in this state. I may be wrong but are there even 10 medical disposal companies in Oklahoma? I bet it takes a lot of capital to run these businesses the right way, so maybe they aren't very abundant.

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