Questions and Answers

The Privacy Blog of Michael A. Risley, Attorney

Q&A: Can I Get a Medical Marijuana License with a Criminal Record?

We've gotten quite a few questions about medical marijuana in our office lately. People want to know: if they have a criminal record, or a felony conviction, are they allowed to get a medical card? The short answer is: Yes if you are an Individual; BUT, there is a waiting period for commercial licensees (Dispensaries, Growers, Processors, and Transport). Read more below.

Medical Marijuana for Individual Consumers: No Problem

State Question 788 passed on June 26th, 2018 and became effective that July. The Question itself and it's codification at 63 O.S. 420(A) et. seq. do not contain any mention of criminal records, or felony convictions, for Individual medical marijuana cards. In general, the only requirements to obtain an individual medical marijuana license are: 

  1. That you are 18 years old, 
  2. That you complete the application packet, 
  3. That you have the recommendation of a licensed Physician, and 
  4. That you pay the $100 licensing fee ($20 for folks on Medicaid, Medicare, and SoonerCare). 

Medical Marijuana for Dispensaries, Growers, Processors and Transport: Problems

If you are applying for a commercial license (Dispensary, Grower, Processor, or Transport), then you will have problems if you have a felony on your criminal record. Specifically:

  • If you have non-violent felony conviction(s), then you must wait two years from the date of your last conviction before applying;
  • If you have violent felony conviction(s), then you must wait five years from the date of your last conviction before applying;

Three things to add: 

  1. First, a felony deferred sentence is not a conviction under Oklahoma law, and so a deferred sentence will not disqualify you;
  2. Second, if you are unsure whether or not your crime is a violent felony, the list of violent felonies can be found here. Note that any "Attempt", "Conspiracy", or "Solicitation" of a violent crime will also disqualify you. 
  3. Third, "the date of your last conviction" is the day that you pled out - NOT the date you finished probation, or any other date. You can pull your case on to find your plea date, if you can't remember. 

Finally, the general requirements for commercial licenses are also more strict:

  • You must be 25 years old;
  • You must register your business entity with the Secretary of State;
  • At least 75% of the business ownership must be residents of the state of Oklahoma;
  • Non-residents may not exceed a 25% ownership stake, and
  • If you sell marijuana to non-licensed individuals, you will be fined $5,000 for the first offense, and have your license revoked on the second offense.

What if You Can't Wait? 

If you are in the market for a Dispensary, Grower, Transport, or Processor license, and you don't want to wait two to five years from your last conviction, you are in luck:

  • People with non-violent felonies can get an expungement and skip the waiting period; 
  • People with violent felonies can get a pardon and skip the waiting period. 

If you are interested in seeing if you qualify for either of those, get in touch with an attorney today and we're happy to get you a quote.

What about the Dept. of Health's Emergency Rules (eff. 12/20/2018) and the Proposed Permanent Rules (January 2019)?

In an effort to deal with the many unanswered questions left by SQ788, the State Dept. of Health has issued Emergency Rules and Proposed Permanent Rules to try and flesh-out the unclear portions of the new medical marijuana laws. The Medical Marijuana Authority has setup a website where the most recent rules are kept. As of the day of writing (3/12/2019), the Rules add the following in regard to criminal records: 

  1. If you are currently incarcerated, you cannot receive a medical marijuana license of any kind; 
  2. If you currently have a license, and are charged with a new crime, you may have your license revoked, suspended, or your renewal denied based upon (a) the incarceration rule and (b) the felony waiting periods above;
  3. Commercial licensees (Dispensary, Grower, Processor, Transportation) must also receive an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) registration pursuant to 63 O.S. 2-302, 63 O.S. 2-303, 63 O.S. 2-101, and OAC 475:10-1-10. The forms for the OBN registration are located here.

What are the specifics on the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) registration?

First, let me say that this is brand new area of law, and it's unclear how the Medical Marijuana Authority and the OBN are going to act. But, based on the rules-as-written, even if you qualify for a commercial medical license with the Authority, the OBN could still deny your registration based on a criminal record - which would essentially disallow you from using your otherwise lawful commercial medical license. 

Specifically, 63 O.S. 2-303(A)(3) allows the OBN to deny your registration if:

  • you have been found guilty of, entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act or any other state or federal law relating to any substance defined herein as a controlled dangerous substance or any felony under the laws of any state or the United States;

So, if you have a drug crime on your record - under either State or Federal law, and including where you got a deferred sentence - the OBN can deny your registration. Therefore, to be safe and protect your investment, we recommend that anyone seeking a commercial medical license take care of their criminal record before they apply for their OBN registration. Call us today to discuss your options.

Thanks for reading,

Michael Risley | Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | Go Back