Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Oklahoma

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Patient License in Oklahoma

The benefits of having a medical cannabis patient license in Oklahoma include firearm access, legal protection from prosecution and arrest, and access to minors.

Legal Protection

Having a medical marijuana patient license in Oklahoma protects a person from arrest or prosecution for possessing or purchasing cannabis products not exceeding the state-approved limits. Per Section 63-427.8(F) of Oklahoma Statutes, a licensed medical cannabis patient or caregiver shall not be subject to penalty, arrest, or prosecution in any form under state law or municipal ordinance for lawfully using medical marijuana. Licensed patients are also protected under state law for marijuana home grows. However, to avoid arrest or prosecution, they must not cultivate more than 6 mature plants and 6 immature marijuana plants as approved by state law, and the plants must not be visible to the public.

It is illegal to possess cannabis or cannabis products in Oklahoma without a medical marijuana patient license since the state has yet to legalize recreational cannabis. Offenders risk serious legal consequences, including jail term, fines, difficulty renting a home, and difficulty finding employment. Hence, marijuana patients are advised always to carry their medical cannabis patient licenses when they have cannabis products on their person. This is because law enforcement officers may require them to prove they are legally licensed to possess and use medical cannabis in the state. Similarly, when driving with marijuana products in the vehicle, it is important to carry one's medical marijuana patient license. Additionally, such cannabis products should be stored away in the trunk or locked glove box in their original packaging.

Firearm Access

Oklahoma medical marijuana patient license holders have a right to carry firearms as stipulated in Section 427.8(E) of the state's Statutes. According to state law, a medical cannabis patient or caregiver shall not be denied the right to possess, purchase, or own a firearm or ammunition solely because they have a medical marijuana patient or caregiver license. In addition, no state or local authority may restrict, suspend, or otherwise infringe on their right to own or purchase a gun or firearm accessories. However, licensed medical patients' right to own, purchase, and possess firearms in Oklahoma does not apply under federal law. Federal law enforcement officers operating within the state may still arrest and prosecute a patient for owning or purchasing firearms.

Access for Minors

Medical cannabis patients under the age of 18 with medical marijuana minor patient licenses can legally use, possess, and cultivate marijuana at home for medical purposes in Oklahoma. However, minor patient license holders must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians when visiting licensed dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana products. While they can legally consume cannabis, minors are prohibited from smoking or vaporizing medical marijuana unless their recommending medical providers agree it is medically necessary.

Employment Protection

Oklahoma forbids discriminating against medical marijuana patients in workplaces solely because of their status as medical marijuana licensees. Per Section 427.8 (H) - (I) of Oklahoma Statutes, no employer may discipline, refuse to hire, or fire an employee solely because they are registered medical cannabis users in the state. They may only do so unless otherwise required by federal law or needed to obtain federal funding. Similarly, no employer may refuse to employ a job applicant or discipline a current employee based on a positive test for cannabis metabolites if the person has an Oklahoma medical marijuana license. The only exception is when the employee is handling safety-sensitive job roles.

While licensed medical cannabis patients in Oklahoma enjoy reasonable protection against workplace discrimination, employers may choose not to permit the possession or use of cannabis products on the workplace premises. Similarly, employees working under the influence of marijuana may be disciplined or fired by their employers. Due to the federal prohibition of marijuana under federal law, it is impossible for licensed medical marijuana patients to be federal employees in Oklahoma.

Reciprocity

Medical cannabis patients in Oklahoma can use their patient licenses in some of the states that have medical marijuana reciprocity. For instance, states like Maine, Rhode Island, and Arkansas acknowledge Oklahoma medical marijuana patient licenses.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Patient License in Oklahoma

Some of the drawbacks of having a medical marijuana patient license in Oklahoma are the inconveniences faced while renewing the license, driving restrictions, and several federal prohibitions.

Driving Restrictions

Oklahoma has a no tolerance per se DUI (driving under the influence) law and prohibits driving with any registrable amount of cannabis in a person's system. Registered medical cannabis patients in the state are not exempted. Licensed medical marijuana patients particularly risk frequent arrests, as any trace amount of cannabis or its metabolites in their bodily fluid is enough to establish a DUI arrest, whether impaired or not.

Federal law prohibits Oklahoma medical marijuana patient license holders from obtaining commercial driver licenses (CDLs). It does not matter if medical cannabis is legal in the state. As long as cannabis remains a prohibited drug at the federal level, commercial vehicle drivers will be precluded from consuming marijuana products. Hence, licensed medical marijuana patients cannot legally operate commercial vehicles in Oklahoma. Operating a motor vehicle while impaired with marijuana in the state is a serious offense. Offenders may face jail sentences and fines. These penalties are usually enhanced depending on the number of times a person has been convicted of marijuana DUI.

Annual Renewal

An Oklahoma medical marijuana patient license is valid for two years and must be renewed promptly before expiration to continue enjoying legal access to medical cannabis. Before the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) can approve a patient license renewal application, the patient must visit their medical provider. The physician must evaluate the patient and then recertify/recommend them for medical cannabis. This may sometimes be inconvenient for patients, but it is critical to the process. Additionally, depending on the provider, patients will have to pay their medical provider consultation fees ranging from $150 to $120.

During the biennial renewal, patients will also have to pay renewal fees. While the standard renewal application fee is $100, patients who are veterans with disabilities and those who are beneficiaries of Medicare or SoonerCare only have to pay $20. The major inconvenience suffered by patients when renewing their Oklahoma medical marijuana patient license appears when they submit unclear documents or if there is missing information. In such a situation, the OMMA returns the application to them, and this may go back and forth a few times until patients provide clear documents and complete information.

Federal Prohibitions

Marijuana use, possession, and cultivation are prohibited on federal lands in Oklahoma. Hence, while the state permits the home cultivation of marijuana for licensed medical cannabis patients, those residing in federally subsidized housing cannot exercise this right legally. Similarly, they cannot possess or consume marijuana on the premises of such buildings. As a result of the federal prohibition of marijuana, it is hard for any licensed medical cannabis patient to succeed at any federal employment application in Oklahoma. Also, federal employees who use marijuana for medicinal purposes, even with state-issued medical cannabis patient licenses, may lose their jobs if caught.

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