TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma only recently got into the medical marijuana business, but the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority says the state is the largest manufacturer of it in the United States.
With over 8,000 grow facilities and more than 2,000 dispensaries, it can be hard to keep track of all that product.
That will change on May 26th when the state implements its first seed to sale program.
Josh Wedman is the owner of GroGenex LLC.
The 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility sits in Jenks and is home to thousands of budding cannabis plants.
“It is not an easy task to keep plants not only healthy but happy in order to pull out the things you are trying to pull out from the plant to truly be a medicinal product for our citizens,” says Wedman.
Wedman says he is careful to go by the book and make sure each plant is properly tagged.
Untagged product ending up on the black market is a problem that law enforcement is dealing with on a regular basis.
In April, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics seized 54,000 plants when it busted an illegal grow operation in Henryetta.
OBN says its investigation showed plants were being trafficked out of state and onto the black market.
Two years ago, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority chose Metrc to implement the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, but a lawsuit delayed its implementation for most businesses until now.
However, GroGenex LLC. has been utilizing Metrc for over a year.
Every single plant inside its facility is tagged and follows it from a seedling to the point of sale.
Wedman says this will create much-needed transparency in the entire industry.
Currently, OMMA depends on its licensees to submit monthly written reports.
Now, it will be able to track plants electronically giving it real-time data on how much marijuana product is being distributed across the state.
“That’s important so that the government can track where the product is moving, and you can justify and rely on the fact that it has a certificate of analysis and that it passes for the safety of the consumer,” says Wedman.
He also says this will allow the state to track its sales tax revenue.
“And that quite frankly is a very big piece to this in my opinion because there is so much product in the state of Oklahoma compared to other states,” says Wedman.
Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, Executive Director, Adria Berry agrees.
“Oklahomans will see a difference because we will be able to identify that black market product easier. If it’s not tagged and moving through the electronic process, then it’s not a legal product that should be moving through Oklahoma,” says Berry.
She says the Metrc system will help OMMA do its job better by regulating the industry to make sure the product that ends up on industry shelves is safe and properly tested.
“It will track all Marijuana and Marijuana product that is grown in Oklahoma from the moment it is big enough to hold a tag when it’s a baby plant until it’s harvested and lab-tested, sold to a dispensary, and eventually sold to a consumer,” says Berry.
OMMA says this new electronic tracking system will change the face of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry.
On May 27th the day after the implementation, Berry says they will gather a list of all the licensees who are not in Metrc. Then OMMA will start filing administrative actions that could include revoking licenses.
See the full story on Wednesday at 10 p.m. on 2 News Oklahoma
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