The Senate has given final approval to Senate Bill 1367, which increases the penalties for those who purchase medical marijuana and then sell the product to non-cardholders. The measure now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, authored the legislation he said will fix a loophole that only designates the practice of diverting medical marijuana product as an administrative fine.
“As many Oklahomans know, when State Question 788 was passed to legalize medical marijuana, we were quickly thrown into a situation where we needed to create the framework and guidelines for this industry,” Paxton said. “Unfortunately, this led to the inadvertent mixing of medical marijuana legislation and criminal justice reform legislation, resulting in the ability for someone to buy marijuana product legally, but then re-sell it to a child or someone who doesn’t have their card, with only an administrative fine. Ultimately, this is drug dealing, but only with the equivalent offense of a traffic ticket. SB 1367 fixes this loophole and makes this practice a criminal offense.”
The measure increases the fine for a person who intentionally or improperly diverts medical marijuana from $200 to $400 on the first offense, and from $500 to $1,000 on the second offense. If someone is caught a third time, they could lose their medical marijuana license. SB 1367 also increases the fines for sales or transfers of medical marijuana to unauthorized persons to $5,000 for the first violation and $15,000 for subsequent violations.
“I want to be very clear that we are going after the black-market medical marijuana industry and drug dealers with this bill – not college friends who are sharing marijuana product with no money exchanged,” Paxton said. “These black-market dealers are targeting and selling marijuana to our kids and others who don’t have a medical card, and we are giving our law enforcement officials the ability to do their jobs and prosecute these offenders under criminal violation of the law.”
Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell, is the House principal author.
If signed into law, the legislation would become effective on Nov. 1.