Proposed bill on medical marijuana in Oklahoma has dispensary owners split

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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - Several new bills are being proposed in Oklahoma regarding the medical marijuana business, one of them in particular could impact how businesses operate, and who can operate them.

"Well, its going to be bad that its going to hurt my pocketbook, but its going to be good, and its going to help regulate the industry," said Jason Thomas, CEO of Canna Stop.

"They're coming in and changing the deal after the fact. It's like a Darth Vader move, like 'Pray that I don't alter it any further," said Dustin Belvin, owner of The Remedy.

The bill Thomas and Belvin are split on is Senate Bill 1520. This proposal would force businesses to pay $10,000 for their licensing fee, four times as much as they pay now.

"Its only $14 a day when you look at the overall cost of a two-year licensing. It's ridiculous if you look at the scheme of things, and how much money you could make in this industry, and if you can't afford that I don't think you are doing things the right way," said Thomas.

"What's going to happen is you're not going to see any more of the smaller Mom and Pop shops that you're used to seeing. You're not going to be able to go in and get those experiences that you're getting at these smaller places. It's going to feel like you're walking into the Wal-Mart of weed," said Belvin.

According to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the state has approved nearly 10,000 business licenses.

"If you can't afford those type of fees, which I think are reasonable, the industry is going to call itself and clean itself up in that regard," said Thomas.

"If you can run a good business, and the only thing that keeps you out of it is some bureaucratic fee that some people that some of us voted for decided everyone had to pay, how fair does that sound?" said Belvin.

Senate Bill 1520 has been referred to two committees in the state legislature for review, no vote date has been set for lawmakers.