The regulatory agency charged with overseeing Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program has opened an investigation into a cannabis testing lab in the state over allegations of false product test results, Tulsa World reported on Monday.
A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority confirmed to the newspaper that the Oklahoma City-based F.A.S.T. Laboratories “has pending inquiries with the OMMA and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.”
No government official told Tulsa World much about the investigation, given its ongoing nature, but recent activity on the lab’s social media account might provide some clues.
“The F.A.S.T. Laboratories website still offers the ‘Oklahoma Compliance Package’ test at $360 and lists a Tulsa business location, but a more recently updated company Facebook page only lists phone numbers for laboratories in Arkansas and Oklahoma City,” the Tulsa World reported. “A Facebook post from Aug. 10 asks Oklahoma-based clients to ship their hemp and cannabidiol, or CBD, samples to an Arkansas address for testing.”
That might potentially put F.A.S.T. in conflict with the state law, which began requiring growers and processors in Oklahoma “to test all medical marijuana and medical marijuana products in a laboratory licensed by the OMMA” on July 1.
MMJ In OK
Voters in the Sooner State approved a measure legalizing medical marijuana in the summer of 2018. By last summer, a year after the votes were cast, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority had signed off on almost 150,000 licenses for patients to receive cannabis treatments. That number swelled to 200,000 by the fall of 2019 and now, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, the state has nearly 300,000 patients registered. Medical marijuana sales in Oklahoma generate almost $10 million in tax revenue each month, according to the MPP.
Some Oklahoma lawmakers are keen on expanding and strengthening the program, though there remains healthy opposition in the deep red state. A bill taken up in the state legislature this year would have “allowed medical cannabis patients to receive deliveries from dispensaries within a 10-mile radius or—for rural residents—a dispensary in their county.” It also would have prohibited the state’s department of health “from sharing patient and caregiver records with other state agencies or political subdivisions, including law enforcement, without a court order.”
The bill passed the legislature easily, but was vetoed by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who said that the proposal was “not fully scrutinized.”
“The language in the bill makes substantial policy changes to the medical marijuana program that were not fully scrutinized through normal legislative procedures before the bill was received by my office in the middle of the night Saturday,” Stitt said in explaining his veto.”While there is much room for improvement in the way our state’s program operates, this bill does not address those items in a way I can support.”
Despite the overwhelming support for the bill in both chambers of the legislature—and the criticism directed at Stitt’s action—the Oklahoma legislature opted not to attempt to override the governor’s veto.