A group of marijuana growers in Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that they are being threatened with shutdowns for not passing inspections that they have been waiting for months. The lawsuit accuses the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) and the state fire marshal of failing to process, review, and approve their inspection requests in a timely manner. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent the state from penalizing or revoking the licenses of the growers until the inspections are completed.
The lawsuit was filed in response to a letter that the state sent to more than 2,000 marijuana businesses in January, warning them that they needed to show proof of compliance with the state’s regulations within 30 days, or face closure. The letter stated that the businesses had to pass inspections by the OBN and the fire marshal, as well as submit their tax returns and other documents.
The growers, however, said that they had submitted their inspection requests as early as July 2023, but had not received any response or confirmation from the state agencies. They said that they had followed all the rules and regulations, and had invested millions of dollars in their businesses. They said that they should not be punished for the state’s backlog and inefficiency.
“We have done everything that we were supposed to do. We have paid our fees, we have paid our taxes, we have complied with all the laws and regulations. We have requested our inspections, and we have been waiting patiently for them. But we have not heard anything from the state. And now they are telling us that we have to shut down our businesses, or face fines and penalties. That is not fair, and that is not legal,” one of the growers, who asked to remain anonymous, told KOCO 5.
The state’s defense and the growers’ demand
The state, on the other hand, said that it was doing its best to conduct the inspections, but that it was facing a huge workload and a limited staff. The state said that it had received more than 10,000 inspection requests from marijuana businesses, and that it had completed about 7,000 of them. The state said that it was prioritizing the inspections based on the date of the request, the type of the business, and the risk of non-compliance.
The state also said that it was cracking down on illegal marijuana grows, which had proliferated in Oklahoma since the legalization of medical marijuana in 2018. The state said that it had conducted dozens of raids and busts on marijuana farms that were operating without licenses, or that were diverting their products to the black market. The state said that it was trying to protect the public health and safety, as well as the integrity of the marijuana industry.
The growers, however, said that they were not involved in any illegal activities, and that they were being unfairly targeted and discriminated by the state. They said that they were providing a legitimate service to the patients and consumers who relied on medical marijuana for their health and well-being. They said that they were contributing to the economy and the society, by creating jobs, paying taxes, and supporting local businesses.
The growers demanded that the state expedite their inspections, and that it stop threatening them with shutdowns or penalties. They also demanded that the state provide them with a clear and transparent process for requesting and receiving inspections, and that it communicate with them regularly and respectfully. They said that they were willing to cooperate with the state, but that they also expected the state to respect their rights and interests.
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