Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority Approves First Licenses

On June 26, 2018, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788, amending Oklahoma state law to legalize the licensed use, sale, and growth of medical marijuana.  The new law became effective July 26, 2018, and on Saturday, August 25, 2018 the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (“OMMA”) began accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses.   

The new law makes clear that employers are prohibited from discriminating against both applicants and employees based solely upon an individual’s status as a medical marijuana license holder or a positive drug test result for marijuana or its components.  There are, however, important exceptions where an employer would “imminently lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulation” or where employees, even those holding a medical marijuana license, use or possess marijuana while in the place of employment or during the hours of employment.

The OMMA reports that as of 8 am Monday, August 27, 2018, it has received applications for licenses from 1,363 patients.  While the OMMA has up to 14 days to review and consider applications, it approved 23 patient licenses last Saturday morning within hours of the applications being posted online.  Because the patient licensing process is moving quickly, employers should act now to review and revise employment policies, particularly drug testing policies, to ensure compliance with the new law and to take advantage of the important exceptions applicable to employers. 

If you have questions or if you would like assistance revising your drug and alcohol policies, please do not hesitate to contact us.