While Ardmore’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened last November, the city first began issuing permits for medicinal cannabis businesses — growers, processors and dispensaries — over a year ago. Within the City of Ardmore any marijuana business must purchase a $2,500 permit every year in order to operate inside in the city limits and now many of those permits are up for renewal. The passage of the Unity Bill which took effect on August 29, also introduced some new rules to be applied to these businesses.
Community Development Director Jessica Scott said the new rules required by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Association for medical marijuana businesses are similar to the ones put in place by the ABLE commission for businesses that serve and sell alcoholic beverages.
“When the Unity Bill went into place it required a certificate of compliance, kind of like what ABLE does,” Scott said. “ABLE requires an inspection by the city and the Fire Marshall to say that the facility meets safety codes, building codes and fire codes, and now OMMA requires that same process.”
Scott said the inspections for the certificate of compliance will coincide with permit renewals. Because so many businesses originally got their permit a year ago, they are now all coming up for renewal. As such, the Community Development Department has already done several of these inspections already.
Scott said so far most of these businesses are renewing their permits, and her department is still getting a steady stream of inquiries from those wanting to open a medical marijuana business of their own.
“Right now we have 18 different businesses that are open and in good standing,” Scott said. “I had wondered if we had so many that the market would be saturated and some of them would fall off — but we haven’t seen that yet. We’re actually still seeing the increase, and we’re still on that train going upward.”
As of Wednesday, September 25 the OMMA has 95 different licensed medical marijuana businesses — growers, processors and distributors — in the Ardmore area, but Scott pointed out many of these businesses are not within the city limits and there may be several businesses that have received their license from the state but have not yet opened because they have not received their initial permit from the city. She added there are 10 more medicinal cannabis businesses currently in the process of opening within city limits.