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Marijuana grow operation says it's facing expensive delay due to state system

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 18:25:25-04

TULSA, Okla.  — A local marijuana grow farm said it's stuck in limbo after what it calls a clerical error.

F5 Industries grows and distributes marijuana to local dispensaries and processors. But F5 claims it's facing what could be an expensive loss. Nearly 600 pounds of flower is stuck at F5 thanks to what the company said is a problem with the tracking system in Oklahoma.

Since voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority had created rules and regulations for the industry. To help manage those regulations, OMMA uses METRC for the state's seed-to-sale tracking system. F5 officials said it's the tracking system causing them problems.

“So we submitted our samples as we’ve always done, we just did two different, three and a half and three and a half grams. And because we sent those two it locked up the system,” said Finance Director Bonnie Caldwell.

Caldwell said they sent those samples before they knew about a change in the process.

“So now we know this is how you should do it going forward. But we still have all this inventory, 575 pounds that are stuck. So that comes out to about 700 thousand dollars that’s just sitting there,” said Caldwell.

She said she's reached out to OMMA and METRC several times for answers on when they will be able to sell their product. She said they aren't giving them a date.

2 News reached out to OMMA about this case. In a statement they said,

“This is an example of an issue we often see, which usually results from licensees entering testing samples into Metrc incorrectly. When licensees don't enter testing samples correctly, Metrc puts a hold on their product. When this happens, Metrc must work with the licensee and OMMA to verify testing was done properly, which can lead to delays. As we continue to work with Metrc to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, we encourage licensees to review all user guidelines, Metrc bulletins and the searchable Metrc Implementation FAQs page on our website to ensure they are following the right processes."

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority

But each day that passes Caldwell said her inventory degrades. She said she wants to follow the rules but she's worried if this happens to others, they might decide to sell their products illegally.

“If they have no choice to stay afloat or to support their family then they’re going to make whatever decision they need to and I would hate for that to continue to happen just because of a simple system error,” said Caldwell.

She said thankfully F5 is still able to harvest new flower but as of now, Caldwell said, F5 is at a loss for what to do about the 700 thousand dollars worth of inventory in limbo.