Medical marijuana dispensaries a ways off

Q&A with Elizabeth Dalton

published in The Oklahoman | September 5, 2018

In a business Q&A with The Oklahoman, attorney Elizabeth Dalton warned that while the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has already started processing applications for patient and commercial licenses, it will be some time before dispensaries will be able to sell cannabis products in compliance with state law.

Commercial licensees cannot purchase marijuana out-of-state,” said Dalton.  “Dispensaries must buy cannabis from Oklahoma-licensed growers and processors, which means they’ll have to wait for the first crop to be ready. Dispensaries that jump the gun and bring in out-of-state product illegally may find themselves in significant legal peril. All commercial licensees have specific reporting requirements, and the Authority can review those reports in order to determine whether purchases from unlicensed sources are occurring.”

Dalton also outlined a number of other practical issues that commercial licensees, such as growers and dispensaries, are encountering as they begin establishing their businesses – all due to the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and federal law makes certain business transactions associated with unlawful activities illegal.  As a result, prospective cannabis businesses in Oklahoma are finding it difficult to secure banking relationships, insurance coverage, and certain property leases.  In addition, the federal tax code prohibits marijuana-related businesses from deducting ordinary business expenses, and it’s unclear whether the courts will enforce business contracts involving activities considered illegal under federal law, she said.