NEWS BRIEF

Oklahoma attorney affiliated with medical cannabis rules facing criminal charges

(This story has been updated to note a letter sent by the state attorney general’s office to regulators saying they improperly made changes to the voter-approved statute.)  

The Oklahoma health agency attorney who helped draft the state’s medical marijuana rules is facing criminal charges days after resigning her post and expressing frustration with changes to the MMJ rules.

Authorities allege that Julia Ezell sent threatening messages to her own official government email and then reported the emailed threats to investigators.

The attorney was charged Tuesday in Oklahoma County with two felonies and one misdemeanor.

Ezell, 37, resigned Friday as general counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Health days after the agency’s board ignored her advice on regulations for medical marijuana.

She had helped draft rules on MMJ approved by the agency’s board last week.

Ezell had cautioned the board against banning sales of smokable marijuana and requiring a pharmacist in every dispensary, arguing that those last-minute changes were beyond the board’s legal authority and would likely invite legal challenges.

The board voted to make the changes anyway.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter also wrote in a letter Wednesday that the board improperly banned sales of smokable marijuana and overstepped its authority in making other changes to the voter-approved statute, including requiring a pharmacist in dispensaries.

Medical marijuana advocates have filed two separate lawsuits

Oklahoma voters approved medicinal cannabis in June.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily

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