In Oklahoma News, another lawsuit has been filed against OMMA, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, and Metrc, the state’s contracted track and trace program that licensees are mandated to use.
The lawsuit, filed in Ottawa Thursday May 4th, 2023, with the plaintiff being Full Tilt, LCC states that injunctive relief is sought due to the fact that Metrc’s contract with OMMA does not include licensees paying for their RFID tracking tags nor does it include the monthly service fee of $40 per month imposed on businesses as a deliverable.
What they’re saying is, if it’s a deliverable, then it should have been included in the contract and Request for Proposal, which it does not. If it’s not considered a deliverable then licensees shouldn’t be required to pay for tags and service fees. Metrc’s bid to OMMA states that the annual fee from Oklahoma to Metrc for the contract is $42,500, which includes all operating costs covered.
The lawsuit also states that the reason Full Tilt, LLC is suing was due to an inspection taking place that resulted in an Emergency Order of Suspension because plants weren’t tagged. They also stated that they never received a copy of their inspection report before receiving the suspension notice. This happened after rumors of OMMA going around imposing arduous and excessive fines in an attempt to shut down licenses.
The lawsuit is headed up by Ron Durbin, an attorney in Oklahoma who has sued Metrc and OMMA before on behalf of medical marijuana licensees. It’s ever so curious that he allegedly did not show up for the last injunctive hearing where Metrc countersued to move the venue from Muskogee to Oklahoma county. The result of which was an immediate implementation of Metrc’s track and trace into effect and Metrc included a back charge to all licenses. Businesses were essentially extorted where Metrc required them to pay the last year’s worth of service fees, even though it was not required by law to utilize Metrc during that time. If they didn’t pay, access was cut off to Metrc’s required software.
Businesses are expected to pay $0.25 per package tag and $0.45 per plant tag for growers in addition to the $40 monthly service fee. Other licenses that are in states like California and Missouri do not have to pay these fees, the Metrc compliance fee is assumed by the state and tags are supplied to licensees at no cost. It is assumed with the high cost of licensing that compliance should be included with that cost.
The lawsuit actually references Missouri as a case law precedent example. The licensees got together and sued, and Missouri sided with the licensees stating that they can not be charged for tags and service fees.
It’s possible that if injunctive relief is granted, it may only be granted to the plaintiff Full Tilt, LLC, until the lawsuit outcome is determined. If Oklahoma sided with the licensees it would mean businesses would not have to continue paying those fees moving forward, it seems unlikely, however, that they would get a refund on the past year of fees and tags.