BUDDING BUSINESS: Medical marijuana dispensary owners say new fees, regulations could cause some to close down – Tahlequah Daily Press

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A combination of changes on how medical marijuana is tracked throughout the state, along with impending fees for local dispensaries, processors and growers, could alter the industry outlook in Tahlequah.

After Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana in 2018 through a citizen-led petition, dispensaries quickly began popping up. By 2020, there were more than 2,200 cannabis dispensaries around the state. That number could fall in the coming months, as dispensaries will have to spend more money to keep their doors open.

The Tahlequah City Council passed an ordinance during its last meeting to amend rules on establishing a new schedule of regular fees for various permits, violations, licenses, inspections and rentals. Among new fees established were a $1,200 annual medical marijuana dispensary license, an $1,800 fee for a medical marijuana processing license, and a $2,500 cost for a grow license.

Mayor Sue Catron said the fees on the new schedule will go into affect July 1.

“So by putting these [fees] into a schedule that is reviewed once a year, then it is easy for the public and the city to see a list of all the fees, and here’s how much they are,” said Catron. “And you can only change that schedule through action of the council.”

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has entered into a contract with Metrc to use its track-and-trace system. Metrc will keep tabs on all medical marijuana products being grown, processed, transported, tested and sold in the state. Every grower, processor, and dispenser will have to purchase RFID tags, and all cannabis businesses will be required to pay a $40 monthly fee to be in the Metrc system.

“Now that the state has taken on the system, it will

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