Lawsuits filed in Oklahoma target strict new medical marijuana rules

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Two pro-cannabis group filed lawsuits in Oklahoma accusing regulators of improperly imposing rules aimed at curbing the growth of the state’s new medical marijuana industry.

The lawsuits challenge the State Board of Health’s 5-4 decision this week to adopt emergency rules that, among other things, ban the sale of smokable cannabis.

The regulations – which were approved by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin – also require MMJ dispensaries to employ a pharmacist and impose a THC cap on concentrates and mature plants.

Marijuana Business Daily had projected that Oklahoma’s MMJ industry could reach $100 million-$150 million annually within several years of its launch. But a smokable marijuana sales ban would significantly reduce those numbers.

The lawsuits were filed by a group in Cleveland County and by Green the Vote, which is collecting signatures to put the legalization of adult-use marijuana on the November ballot.

In addiiton, Oklahomans for Health, which put forth the MMJ initiative approved by voters on June 26, said earlier this week that it was considering filing a legal challenge to the state’s emergency rules.

Green the Vote’s lawsuit, according to The Oklahoman, claims that the state Board of Health violated government transparency laws by secretly discussing last-minute changes to the MMJ emergency rules.

Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates said his office anticipated legal challenges and was prepared to defend the emergency regulations.

Michael McNutt, the governor’s communications director, declined to comment Friday, except to say that Fallin and her staff would review the lawsuits.

Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily