Cannabis residency suit shunned by Oklahoma federal judge, but issue remains unsettled

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A lawsuit has been rejected by a federal judge in Oklahoma following an argument regarding the state’s residency requirement for medical cannabis businesses owners. Despite the ruling, the issue has not yet been resolved.

The Decision, which was made on March 17 by U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot, is believed to have been based on the federal Constitution’s 11th Amendment. 

That particular Amendment prohibits federal courts from engaging in legal proceedings that have been filed against states by individuals who do not reside in that particular state. Nonetheless, Original Investments – the Olympia, Washington-based plaintiff – is being granted the opportunity to submit an amended complaint within 14 days.

Original Investments, which operates under the name “Dank’s Wonder Emporium” in Norman, is unlikely to be satisfied with the decision since it does not clarify whether or not the two-year residency requirement for owning a share in a medical cannabis business is unconstitutional.

A similar court case was filed by a cannabis retailer in an Oklahoma county district court

This isn’t the first time that cannabis residency requirements have been challenged. Previously, a court case not dissimilar to the most recent one was filed in an Oklahoma county district court. Furthermore, the subject of cannabis residency requirements has been argued against in places like Maine, Missouri and Washington state.

The law that stipulates Oklahoma’s medical cannabis residency requirements was imposed in the year 2019 — just one year following the successful voter-approved ballot measure that led to a medical cannabis market transpiring statewide. Based on the requirement, individuals who do not hold residency in the state are only permitted to own a maximum of 25 percent of any medical cannabis business. 

Since its inception, the state’s legal market has gained widespread attention for being overly lenient in terms of welcoming business owners. However, things changed recently when a bill was approved by the Oklahoma House to prevent just anybody from getting involved in the industry.

According to the plaintiff of the recently-filed court case, Original Investments, Oklahoma’s medical cannabis business residency requirement clearly states that the rule is in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

House Bill 2272 aims to temporarily limit the amount of available medical cannabis business licenses made available to cultivators, dispensary owners and processors across the state. The cap will be chosen based on the number of pending license applications and active licenses obtained by September 1.

Oklahoma’s medical cannabis market just got a taste of Lil Wayne else that’s happened in Oklahoma’s cannabis industry recently is the release of acclaimed rapper Lil Wayne’s weed brand — GKUA Ultra Premium. Founded in 2019, the brand was officially made available to Oklahomans as of March 23. 

Oklahoma is the fourth state to gain access to the music artists line of cannabis products, indicating the medical cannabis market’s maturance. GKUA’s inception occurred once President and co-founder Beau Golob swapped the technology industry for the cannabis industry.

“After talking to Wayne, he inspired me,” Golob told reporters. “He used to want to smoke to get high, but now he smokes to get inspired. He wants to share that with other people. We wanted to offer consumers the ability to partake in the culture.”

GKUA products can be found in California, Colorado, Michigan and now, Oklahoma. Cookies OKC, Kush House OKC, Roots Shawnee, Medical Farm-a-seed Lawton and Vertica (all three locations) are some examples of the state’s dispensaries that will be selling Lil Wayne’s cannabis products.