Over more than a year after voters in Oklahoma legalized medical cannabis, one in 13 adult residents has a patient card. Oklahoma has the highest number of per-capita dispensaries among medical marijuana states in the US, with 56 medical marijuana dispensaries per 100,000 residents. With more than 220,000 patient licenses approved so far, the demand for marijuana is only growing rapidly and with sales surpassing $800 million in 2020, Oklahoma’s medical marijuana scene is propping up a multi-million dollar industry. For those considering venturing into the medical marijuana business, there are opportunities galore as entry costs are quite low, but competition is strong as demand for cannabis business licenses is high.
Cannabis industry in Oklahoma might be booming, but running a successful marijuana dispensary in takes more than getting customers in the door, and with Metrc tracking and reporting becoming mandatory from April 30, 2021, dispensary owners must prepare themselves to ensure that they remain compliant with Oklahoma's evolving marijuana laws. For all those interested in opening a medical cannabis dispensary in Oklahoma or those who are already up and running but must transition to Metrc, you need to understand all compliance requirements and regulations.
Oklahoma Cannabis Rules & Regulations
Before we dive into tips for running a compliant medical marijuana dispensary in Oklahoma, let’s start with the basics. Here’s a quick rundown of important rules and regulations for medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
- The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Health, is in charge of medical marijuana licensing, from issuing patient cards to awarding licenses to dispensary owners. If you want to open a dispensary in Oklahoma, you’ll have to apply directly with the OMMA system. There is no cap on the number of licenses being awarded, but remember that OMMA is only accepting digital applications and any mail-in applications will be rejected.
- Doctors may recommend cannabis to patients for any condition they deem appropriate, allowing for a wide pool of potential patients. Individuals must be registered with the state as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver to shop at dispensaries legally.
- Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries can sell mature plants, seedlings, concentrates, cured cannabis flower, and edibles.
- Compliance errors result in major penalties. A first offense comes with a $5,000 fine and a second offense (in a two-year period) will lead to license revocation.
- Transition to Metrc reporting has begun, and proper seed to sale tracking will enhance safety in OK's legal cannabis industry. Metrc’s system will replace the mandatory monthly reports and increase the efficiency of data collection for OMMA and marijuana dispensaries. Complete your Metrc training by March 26, 2021 and keep monitoring OMMA's website for any subsequent next steps.
Cannabis Compliance Tips for Dispensaries in Oklahoma
1. Streamline Metrc and OMMA Compliance Reporting
Seed-to-sale tracking is a vital component of the legal cannabis industry everywhere. Oklahoma requires all medical marijuana dispensary licensees utilize an inventory management system that is seamlessly integrated with Metrc to ensure automatic compliance reporting in real time. With a two-strike policy in place, a casual approach to compliance can quickly cost Oklahoma dispensaries their license to operate.
To help make inventory management and reporting easier than ever, choose a technology partner that understands your day-to-day business needs. Cova POS tracks transactions and inventory in real-time, is fully integrated with Metrc, and generates real-time inventory tracking and compliance OMMA reports which are automatically sent to Metrc's system.
2. Use Technology to Comply With Daily Purchase Limits
Medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Oklahoma cannot exceed the following limits in a single purchase:
- Three ounces of usable cannabis,
- One ounce of concentrate,
- 72 ounces of edible cannabis.
And considering what happened to a major dispensary chain in Denver for taking part in an illegal practice called “looping,” it’s smart for dispensaries to remain compliant and not violate laws.
A robust cannabis point-of-sale (POS) system will automate this process for you and your staff. The Cova POS handles product conversions and alerts your staff if they exceed the daily purchase limits for a medical marijuana patient. These POS features aren’t just convenient, they are necessary for protecting your business from steep fines or loss of dispensary license.
3. Don’t Forget to Remit Taxes
Oklahoma dispensary owners have to pay taxes like any other legal business. The state enacted a 7 percent medical marijuana tax, in addition to a 4.5 percent state retail tax, plus a city tax of up to 3.4 percent depending on location. Unlike many other legal marijuana states, Oklahoma did not opt for an excise tax on wholesale transactions between producers and retailers.
It’s up to the business owner to collect taxes from each purchase and report the remitted taxes as per the required timeline. Cova’s POS system calculates the tax on all cannabis purchases and includes that information in its OMMA reports, avoiding tax reporting errors.
4. Stay Informed on Rule Changes
The road to medical cannabis in Oklahoma is quite rocky. The state’s Department of Health (DoH) issued multiple and significant emergency rule changes during public meetings. In one meeting the state decided dispensaries could no longer sell “smokable” cannabis in the form of flower or joints, only to revoke that emergency rule change a few meetings later.
As a medical cannabis dispensary owner, the onus is on you to stay up-to-date on the rules that affect your business. Know when DoH meetings are scheduled so you can prepare in advance. Partner with a technology company that automatically updates their software as OMMA rules change. Avoiding costly compliance mistakes requires effort and expertise, and an experienced cannabis technology partner is your best bet.
If you own a medical cannabis dispensary in Oklahoma and are having challenges transitioning to Metrc reporting, there are ways to make your life a little easier. With 2-way integration, real-time Metrc reporting, training and the best compliance and support system, Cova's dispensary POS system will make it smooth sailing for you. Request a demo now to learn how Cova can help you meet your dispensary compliance requirements with Metrc and OMMA in Oklahoma, and make you stand out from the crowd with the best cannabis dispensary management features.