The process for hazardous extraction of medical marijuana is complex; however, enforcement of the regulations and laws that govern it in Oklahoma are even more complex. In fact, violation of any one of the regulations related to medical marijuana cultivation, processing, or extraction can lead to serious criminal charges in Oklahoma.

Medical marijuana extraction refers to the process of isolating and concentrating beneficial compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, from the cannabis plant for therapeutic purposes. This extraction typically involves the use of solvents, heat, pressure, or mechanical methods to separate the desired compounds from the plant material, resulting in highly potent extracts. These extracts can then be utilized in various forms, including oils, tinctures, concentrates, or infused products, to provide relief for a range of medical conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, seizures, and inflammation. The extraction process aims to maximize the therapeutic properties of cannabis while minimizing undesirable components, ensuring safe and effective medical use.

Criminal Implications of Noncompliance with the Liquified Petroleum Gas Administration

In Oklahoma, compliance with the Liquified Petroleum Gas Administration (LPG)regulations is essential for legally operating a marijuana processing facility, but also to avoid facing criminal charges. Understanding the quasi-criminal intersection of LPG regulations is crucial, as the medical marijuana processing industry often uses hazardous extraction methods. It’s important to note that LPG agents have the authority to cause the arrest of individuals or entities found violating these regulations, because of the everchanging medical marijuana landscape

The following terms are important to understand prior to deep diving into the issues related to LPG and medical marijuana processing and cultivation in Oklahoma:

Medical Marijuana

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority defines medical marijuana as “marijuana that is grown, processed, dispensed, tested, possessed, or used for a medical purpose.”

Medical Marijuana Processing

Processing refers to the series of steps involved in transforming harvested cannabis plants into various forms that can be used for medical purposes. This process typically involves several stages, including drying, curing, extraction, and formulation, to produce medical cannabis products such as oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, and concentrates. Each stage of processing is crucial for preserving the therapeutic compounds present in the cannabis plant, such as cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) and terpenes, while removing impurities and ensuring consistency and quality.

Under no circumstances may a licensed processor in Oklahoma sell marijuana or any marijuana product directly to a licensed medical marijuana patient or licensed caregiver. However, a licensed processor may process cannabis into a concentrated form for a licensed medical marijuana patient for a fee.

Medical Marijuana Licensing in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) is authorized to issue two types of medical marijuana processor licenses based on the level of risk posed by the type of processing conducted:

1.  Nonhazardous medical marijuana processor license; and

2.  Hazardous medical marijuana processor license.

“Hazardous processor license” means a license issued to a medical marijuana processor that performs an extraction method that uses chemicals considered hazardous by OSHA.

In conjunction with OMMA, OBNDD, and other necessary agencies, hazardous processing facilities must maintain permits and comply with the regulations of the LPG Administration.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) means and includes any material which is composed predominantly of any of the following hydrocarbons, or mixtures of the same: propane, propylene, normal butane and isobutane, and butylenes. LPG is a highly flammable hydrocarbon gas mixture that is commonly used as a fuel for heating, cooking, and powering appliances. LPG is stored and transported in its liquid form under moderate pressure, but it vaporizes into a gaseous state when released from a pressurized container.

In medical marijuana extraction, LPG is often utilized as a solvent in the extraction process to isolate cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds from the cannabis plant material. The extraction method using LPG is commonly known as “butane hash oil” or “propane hash oil” extraction, depending on whether butane or propane is predominantly used. Overall, LPG offers an efficient and effective method for extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis plant material, enabling the production of potent medical marijuana extracts for therapeutic use. However, it’s essential to approach LPG extraction with caution and prioritize safety at all stages of the process.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana: Violations of LPG Rules

Any person, firm, or corporation violating LPG rules, or installing in this state any liquefied petroleum gas system or appliance which does not comply with such safety rules, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof such person shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

1. What is the Regulatory Landscape of LPG in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma’s hazardous extraction industry operates under strict regulations which are overseen by the LPG Administration due to the use of liquified petroleum gas for certain matrixes. These regulations are designed to ensure public safety and the integrity of the industry and monitor the distribution and usage of the same. Compliance with these regulations is paramount, as failure to adhere to them can result in severe legal consequences, including arrest and criminal prosecution by LPG agents.

2. What Authority do LPG Agents have in Oklahoma?

Medical marijuana is one of the most complex administrative areas under Oklahoma law. Violations, real or perceived, of LPG Administration regulations can result in arrest, seizure, and criminal prosecution for marijuana related offenses in Oklahoma.

LPG agents play a critical role in enforcing LPG Administration regulations in Oklahoma.

“The Administrator, the chief deputy administrator and any deputy administrator or safety code enforcement officer are hereby empowered and authorized to sign complaints against and to cause the arrest of any person charged with a violation or violations of this act or the safety rules promulgated thereunder. In the event the district attorney fails or refuses to draw or endorse any complaint submitted to the district attorney and the complainant, whether it be the Administrator, the chief deputy administrator or any deputy administrator or safety code enforcement officer, desires to secure prosecution of the complaint, then and in that event any court of competent jurisdiction shall be authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of the person charged in the complaint and the complainant shall not be required to file with the court the bond provided to be filed with and approved by the court in Sections 231 through 233 of Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes.” 52 O.S. §420.7.

Some are led to believe administrative actions are insulated from criminal actions which is not the case. With the authority to arrest individuals or entities found noncompliant, their presence underscores the seriousness of regulatory violations.

3. Are Permits required for Hazardous Medical Marijuana Extraction in Oklahoma?

Yes, compliance with relevant LPG regulations, OMMA, and other agency rules is required in order to avoid criminal prosecution for acts related to medical marijuana extracts. The process of medical marijuana extraction (processing) often involves the use of hazardous substances, including liquified petroleum gas. Businesses engaged in medical marijuana processing must navigate both LPG regulations and those specific to the medical marijuana industry, like OMMA, OBNDD, and others. This includes obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to safety protocols to ensure compliance with state laws – and avoid criminal implications.

4. What are the Criminal Ramifications of Noncompliance in Oklahoma?

Noncompliance with LPG regulations, whether in traditional operations or medical marijuana processing, can – and do – result in criminal charges. LPG agents are empowered to enforce these laws, and violations can lead to fines, imprisonment, and reputational damage. It’s imperative for businesses to prioritize compliance to avoid facing such consequences.

5. What Defense Strategies Exist to avoid Criminal Charges in Oklahoma?

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys specialize in defending clients against charges related to the operation and extraction of medical marijuana extraction. We will work tirelessly to develop a powerful defense strategy tailored to your specific case, protecting your rights and interests throughout the legal process. With our experience and dedication, you can trust that your defense is in capable hands to pierce the prosecution, mitigate your damages, or fight for your freedoms.

6. Conclusion

At Cannon & Associates, we understand the complexities of navigating the medical marijuana processing and LPG regulations, which can easily lead to allegations of noncompliance and even criminal charges. Our mission is to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case. If you or your business are facing criminal charges related to LPG noncompliance in Oklahoma, seeking Your Fierce Advocates® is crucial. Call (405) 657-2323 NOW for a free case strategy session to get answers to your questions.