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Burns files measure to remove agricultural sales tax exemption for marijuana industry growers

State Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed Senate Bill 1101 for consideration during the upcoming legislative session, which would remove the growing, harvesting and processing of marijuana from the list of agricultural products available to receive a sales tax exemption. 

Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry has boomed since its approval by Oklahoma voters in 2018 by State Question 788, but has left confusion among agencies, lawmakers and citizens as rules have been promulgated to regulate the industry. The Oklahoma Tax Commission previously determined that medical marijuana growers could qualify for an agricultural sales tax exemption based on proposed emergency rules that passed following the approval of the state question, but nothing has been placed in state statutes.

Burns said specifically removing marijuana growers, harvesters, and processors from the list of approved industries and products eligible to receive an ag sales tax exemption would create additional revenue from the medical marijuana industry that could be used to hire more law enforcement officers to further regulate the industry and weed out illegal grows. 

“There’s more than 8,000 marijuana growers licensed with the state – but how many more are operating illegally without oversight from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA),” Burns said. “We need to ensure this industry is well-regulated. There have been numerous reports that illegal grows have brought additional drugs and crime into our state, and it’s time we put our foot down and say enough is enough. However, we need to have sufficient funding available to give the OMMA and Bureau of Narcotics the resources to go into these grows and make sure they are compliant. My hope is that by subjecting marijuana growers, harvesters, and processers to a sales tax, we can use the extra revenue created to boost funding for the law enforcement arms of the marijuana industry, therefore protecting all Oklahomans.”

The Second Session of the 58th Legislature will convene on Monday, Feb. 7.