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Local hemp seed farmer gives away 100,000 marijuana and hemp seeds across the Commonwealth

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Campbell County hemp farmer Jonathan Zinski along with The WellNest Roanoke collaborated to distribute cannabis and hemp seeds to people across the Commonwealth.

People lined up and expressed excitement that something like this was even taking place in Roanoke.

Cannabis is a controversial topic in the Commonwealth. Just last year, the Virginia General Assembly decriminalized adult possession of small amounts of marijuana and legalized adult possession of marijuana up to one ounce and up to four homegrown plants.

Co-owner of the WellNest in Roanoke, Valarie Angle, sees this seed giveaway as an opportunity to change negative perspectives.

“I hope that for the political and societal perspectives, they will shift, and people will see cannabis for all of the opportunities it can bring,” said Angle.

Angle also wants lawmakers to learn more about the product before making any final decisions.

“I do have a hope that our legislators and people in government will educate themselves first before making decisions that will affect millions of people,” said Angle.

Cody Thomas, local cannabis consulting owner, was one of the hundreds of folks waiting in line to get his free packet of seeds.

He agrees with Angle and says he’s happy to see legislation evolve.

“It’s great. You just got to treat it like it’s not a bad thing. Being legalized is the best thing that could have happened,” said Thomas.

It’s estimated the total cost of seeds given away was $500,000.

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Plans for state to use out-of-state company for seed-to-sale medical marijuana tracking put on hold due to lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An emergency hearing was held Thursday on the class action lawsuit against the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“But we don’t need overregulation. Metrc is a precursor to over regulation, over taxation and for corporations to come in here and kill small business,” said Brandon Rust, owner of Bokashi Earthworks.

Less than two weeks ago, the lawsuit was filed with the goal to stop the implementation of a seed-to-sale tracking program from Metrc, an out-of-state company.

Metrc was supposed to begin implementation over the coming weekend.

“We signed an order today that restrains the state of Oklahoma from currently implementing Metrc,” said Ronald Durbin, attorney behind lawsuit.

Durbin is the attorney representing approximately 10,000 licensed cannabis businesses across Oklahoma. He says the implementation of Metrc would create a monopoly and that company would earn over $12 million in the first year alone.

“It was our position when we filed the lawsuit that they violated the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act, by not properly adopting, putting up for public comment and getting the governor’s signature on regulation,” Durbin said.

Durbin telling News 4 many businesses already do their own seed-to-sale tracking and this new plan will be costly.

“We don’t have an issue with the seed-to-sale tracking program. We have an issue with the manner in which the state has adopted this one,” Durbin said.

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“We have some things we need to fix but we don’t need these out of state companies to come in to tell us how we need to do our seed-to-sale, how we need to track,” said John Koumbis, owner of JKJ Processing.

Durbin says another hearing has been set for June 29 th – 60 days from now.

News 4 asked OMMA for its side of the story but were told they can’t comment on pending litigation. We also contacted the State Department of Health but have yet to hear back.

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Statewide Seed-To-Sale Marijuana Tracking System Coming to Oklahoma Early This Year

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority expects to have a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system rolled out early this year.

OMMA announced a contract with national company Metrc in September. Interim Director Dr. Kelly Williams told lawmakers in a December hearing having the system in place will help protect patients and dispensaries from marijuana that doesn’t meet quality or safety standards.

“If processor A wanted to purchase material from grower A, they can actually get in the system and look at the test results on that batch. Those test results have to be entered by that laboratory, and then you have a label that is unique to that specific wholesale package that’s being transferred,” Williams said.

Oklahoma lawmakers are still concerned marijuana that’s part of the state’s medical marijuana program is being diverted for recreational use, which remains illegal. Williams said the system will help curb that.

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“Seed-to-sale is going to help us identify illicit product because every plant and every product that’s being transferred will have to be tagged and in the system that is overseen by the state. There are also algorithms in that program that will help us to identify patterns that might indicate diversion and will notify us automatically,” Williams said.

Florida-based Metrc has tracking systems in 14 other states and Washington, D.C. Implementation in Oklahoma was expected to take up to six months.

There have been complaints in some of those other states about system outages and slowdowns, as well as criticism the system is hard to learn.

All commercial licensees in the state will be required to use the tracking system. As of early December, there were more than 9,500 licensed marijuana businesses in the state, about two-thirds of them growers.