Oklahoma medical marijuana board hides producers’ addresses
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has removed the addresses of growers and processors from its online commercial license database after industry advocates expressed concern that the information would make them targets of crime.
The authority had published the addresses of dispensaries, growers and processors on its website Oct. 31 in response to multiple Open Records Act requests. Oklahomans for Health was one of the advocacy groups upset over the decision, because licensees hadn’t previously been notified, The Tulsa World reported .
“Because of the value of the product, it makes them very accessible to theft and security risks,” said Chip Paul, a board member of Oklahomans for Health.
Authority spokeswoman Melissa Miller said the license application indicates that applicants must be aware their information may be published online.
“It’s really just a public record,” she said. “We had numerous records requests for this information. It’s not uncommon for us as an agency to release or publicize other licensees.”
Republican House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, of Oklahoma City, said the authority “didn’t break any rules” when it published the information, but that more research should be conducted to determine if publishing the information makes marijuana enterprises a target for crime.
“If you get a grow license, how much of your privacy should you give up?” Echols said. “This is a new industry (in Oklahoma). What do other states do, and is there anything we can learn, and are we doing anything that puts people unnecessarily at risk?”
The information can still be acquired through a public records request, Miller said. It is also available through the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control’s database. The organization is open to discussing the practice with lawmakers and industry groups, said Mark Woodward, a bureau spokesman.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com