Crews from the A&E TV show “LivePD” filmed an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper seizing cannabis seeds from a licensed patient in what could be a misapplication of state law and Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority rules.
Video footage posted on Facebook by Michael Hennessee of an episode that aired Wednesday shows Trooper Mystal Perkins interacting with a man on Interstate 240 between South May Avenue and South Pennsylvania Avenue in Oklahoma City. During the conversation, Perkins can be heard telling the unidentified motorist, “This can get you in trouble, alright?” after observing the man had cannabis plant seeds.
The traffic stop, which appeared to be for a motor violation, took place just east of Oklahoma City Community College.
“Cause it’s not packaged like you know you have the other ones in the actual container and all that,” Perkins can be heard saying. “When this is like this, you see where we’re like ‘Why do you have it like that?’ Do you see why we get suspicious?”
Dispensaries have packaging requirements, but nothing in state law requires patients to transport marijuana or marijuana products in specific packaging.
The man’s responses are not clear in the Facebook video, but he responds “I don’t know” when Perkins asks whether he plans to plant the seeds.
“You don’t know. Well, I’ll tell you what, this is what I’m gonna do. I’m going to take these,” Perkins said of the small baggie of seeds, adding: “Because they’re not packaged like they should be, OK. And right back here on your (medical marijuana patient) card, it says you can have six mature plants. That’s a lot more than six in there.
“And then you have to have a license to even grow it, did you know that?”
The language of State Question 788 and governing rules from the OMMA, the supervising agency over the state’s medical cannabis program, appear to contain no restrictions on patients possessing seeds.
The OMMA does not require patients to obtain a separate license to cultivate cannabis at home, and neither Oklahoma City nor Oklahoma County are among the municipalities that ask residents to register and pay a fee if they intend to grow their own cannabis.
“They’re regulating that stuff, and honestly it’s pretty new to us, too, but there’s been all kinds of people up at the Capitol and stuff about trying to grow it and all that,” Perkins tells the motorist during the stop.
Sarah Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, said Thursday morning that the agency is aware of the situation and officials “are still working through the intricacies of the new law.”
“I want to point out that this man will have the opportunity to get those seeds back after it goes through a certain process,” Stewart said. “It’s no different than anything else that is seized on a traffic stop. Those seeds will not be destroyed.”
In a Sept. 5 tweet, the OMMA said no state agency will supply seeds and that “medical marijuana license holders must determine on their own how to obtain seeds at this point.” The man in the video seems to indicate to the trooper that the seeds she seized had been pulled from cannabis flower he legally purchased.
Sales of cannabis products at dispensaries became legal as of Oct. 26, as did possession of mature plants by patients and businesses. Seedlings were legal to possess in Oklahoma as of Sept. 3.
Licensed patients are legally allowed to have up to six seedling plants and six mature, or flowering, plants at one time, according to state law. They can also have up to 8 ounces of cannabis at their residences and up to 3 ounces in their possession, along with certain amounts of cannabis in concentrate form.
House Bill 2612, which will take effect in late August, expands on the laws created by the passage of SQ 788. While it implements seed-to-sale tracking requirements for commercial entities, those do not apply to homegrow operations.
OMMA emergency rules, which remain in effect through the summer, include seeds in the definition of “marijuana.” However, seeds and seedlings — plants without flowers — are not considered “plant material” by OMMA’s definitions.
Proposed permanent rules from the OMMA also do not place a cap on the number of seeds that are legal for licensed patients to possess.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control established its own emergency rules for medical cannabis businesses, which then-Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law in early January. But in a notice on the OBNDD’s website, it says those rules do not apply to licensed patients because patients do not have to register with the department before possessing cannabis.