oklahoma-medical-marijuana-growers-sue-over-fire-inspection-backlog

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Oklahoma medical marijuana companies whose licenses are at risk over tardy fire-safety inspections are suing, alleging the state fire marshal failed to conduct required inspections in time for the operators to renew their permits.

Three MMJ grows filed a lawsuit Jan. 29 asking a judge to order the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Control (OBN), which is refusing to renew cultivation licenses, to not penalize grows that have not yet been inspected, The Oklahoman reported.

The OBN sent 2,176 cannabis businesses letters informing them that their licenses were at risk unless they submitted proof that they’d passed fire inspections.

That’s almost half of the 4,347 growers currently registered in the state, according to Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority data.

Some of the businesses have not yet been inspected despite requesting inspections as long ago as July, attorney Ronald Durbin – who is representing the plaintiffs, including Lucky Rhino Farms – told The Oklahoman.

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for April 4, the newspaper reported.

In the meantime, the narcotics bureau is not expected to start administrative hearings – the first step before revocation – until “March or April,” according to The Oklahoman.

And “there’s a very good chance” that fire marshals will finish their inspections by that time, OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward told the newspaper.

Once one of the hottest medical marijuana markets in the country thanks to a business-friendly environment, Oklahoma is now in a period of contraction because of stricter rules and a law enforcement backlash.

The number of active licensed businesses plummeted by more than 27% from 2023 to 2024, according to recent data.