State News

Broken Arrow passes regulations on medical marijuana

An Oklahoma city has passed ordinances to regulate medical marijuana that have drawn criticism from backers of the measure to legalize medicinal use of the drug.

The Tulsa World reports the Broken Arrow City Council voted Tuesday night to levy a $2,500 annual permit fee on dispensaries and prohibit renters from growing their own marijuana without written permission from the property owner. Marijuana could also be grown only indoors in industrial areas.

Tulsa attorney Ron Durbin, who represents the activist group Green the Vote, says the ballot measure approved by voters doesn’t give cities the authority to adopt such ordinances.

Acting City Attorney Trevor Dennis says the city has legal authority to pass rules that “make sense for our community.” Dennis says he hopes the Legislature will provide guidance.



US judge sentences Oklahoma man in fake bomb threat case

An Oklahoma City man has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for a child pornography charge and for falsely reporting to authorities that his ex-wife wanted to blow up a county courthouse.

Federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Robert Shane Apgar was sentenced Tuesday to 235 months in prison after pleading guilty to the charges last year. Prosecutors say he’ll also be required to register as a sex offender.

A federal grand jury indictment alleged Apgar anonymously reported a bomb threat to the Grady County courthouse and implicated his ex-wife. Apgar admitted in court papers that he made the threat “to try to get my ex-wife in trouble.”

Prosecutors say investigators found the child pornography after executing a search warrant at the home where Apgar was living.



Oklahoma sees shortage as switch to stronger beer approaches

Oklahoma is seeing a shortage of beer as convenience and grocery stores move toward switching to stronger beer in October as a new law goes into effect.

Stores are balancing the arrival of stronger beer products with the need to clear their shelves of 3.2 percent beer while meeting demand, The Tulsa World reported . Retailers are trying to sell as much of the 3.2 percent beer products they have on hand because distributors won’t buy them back. Many stores, including Walmart, listed beer products at a discounted price to ensure sales.

A November 2016 law, which will go into effect Oct. 1, allows stores licensed by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission to sell beer stronger than the traditional 3.2 percent by volume. Some of Oklahoma’s liquor laws dated to the Prohibition era, with one limiting beer sales in grocery stores to products with an alcohol content of 3.2 percent or less.

The LDF Sales and Distributing warehouse has 500,000 cases of strong beer waiting to be shipped as nearby stores’ handle dwindling supplies.

“The intent was to be out of the market next week. We are probably out a little quicker than anticipated,” said Gerry Carnely, vice president of sales at LDF. “I know the consumer gets frustrated by the limited supply, but we feel like we are in a really good spot.”

QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said they anticipated a shortage after distributors informed them they wouldn’t bring additional 3.2 percent beer starting Sept. 1. Options will become even slimmer as Oct. 1 approaches, he said.

“We won’t have multiple varieties and different types of packaging,” Thornbrugh said. “We like to see every cooler shelf full of product and our storage at capacity, but that’s not going to happen. That’s OK, because we know what’s on the horizon.”

Cox Food Saver store manager Richard Carter said the change has hurt the sales.

“Having empty shelves has hurt us,” he said. “People are coming up to us all the time asking if we can go back and get their favorite beer. I have to tell them we don’t have anything.”

Carter said he hopes the chance to sell wine and increased beer options will make up for the losses.