Oklahoma trade group working on ‘poorly drafted’ medical marijuana statute

Oklahoma medical marijuana emergency rules, Oklahoma trade group working on ‘poorly drafted’ medical marijuana statute

While Oklahoma state officials are crafting emergency rules to launch the Bible Belt state’s new medical marijuana program, a trade group is working behind the scenes to address what it says is a badly written statute.

Robert “Bud” Scott, executive director of New Health Solutions Oklahoma, told Marijuana Business Daily that his team met with state House and Senate leadership and is working to “implement the poorly drafted” MMJ initiative that voters approved Tuesday.

Scott wrote in an email that the language would “further clarify application processes, financial disclosures, license determinations, medical research and cultivation practices and … reflect best practices from other jurisdictions.”

He wouldn’t say whether his group is proposing license caps or other major changes to what is considered a strikingly open-market law for such a conservative state.

However, he did call the provision in the voter initiative that would allow doctors to recommend MMJ for any patient ailment or condition “sacrosanct.”

“Physicians are in the best place to determine their patient’s course of treatment,” he said. “And obviously, it creates a much more attractive patient pool for the industry.”

Voters approved the MMJ initiative 57% to 43% despite an aggressive, last-minute opposition effort led by health-care providers, religious leaders, law enforcement agencies and chamber of commerce groups.

The Associated Press reported that a clinic in Tulsa already has opened to recommend medical marijuana, a development some argue is premature.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that Oklahoma’s MMJ market, if it stands in its current form, could generate $100 million-$150 million in annual sales within several years of its launch.

Here’s more to know about the topic:

  • Chip Paul, co-founder of Oklahomans for Health, which backed the voter initiative, and other proponents have promised to fight major changes to the new law.
  • The Oklahoma health department is working on emergency rules so the program can start posting MMJ program application requirements by July 26, as directed by the initiative.
  • Gov. Mary Fallin has characterized the initiative as a recreational marijuana measure and had said she would call a special session for lawmakers to develop a regulatory framework. However, Fallin said June 29 she has conferred with House and Senate leaders and all parties decided the health department’s emergency rules will suffice in governing the MMJ program.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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3 comments on “Oklahoma trade group working on ‘poorly drafted’ medical marijuana statute
  1. Farah Bazzrea on

    The budding Oklahoma medical cannabis industry does not need regulatory and financial constraints limiting startups by everyday Oklahomans. Upon visiting New Health Solutions Oklahoma’s website I was unable to determine “stakeholders” identities. I hope the industry NGO is not a mouthpiece for Big Biz to erect financial and legal barriers against the 99%. Oklahomans approved #788 because it was an egalitarian proposal. Although new regulations are required and Oklahomans should strive to learn from other states’ successes and failures, no attempts should be made to rewrite the voters’ intent. I hope Mr. Scott and his organization proves to be a trustworthy friend to the Oklahoma medical cannabis movement.

  2. pebbles trippet on

    OK is engaged in a medical marijuana conversation at a higher level, based on original “egalitarian” language of 788 and the AG’s and court’s intervention favoring voter intent. The “open market law in a conservative state”, as it is being characterized, has no cap on ‘ailments or conditions’ doctors may authorize, as well as no license caps on production. This is a touchy subject since most of us are small family farms and home use gardens. There is no question about the vulnerability of the vast majority who will get wiped out under current regulations, definitions and fees. So CA’s Prop 64 addressed that inequality with a 5 year delay before “large” grows could register their 10,000sq ft+ grows. The Ag Dept violated the rule by allowing large grows to apply and register. CGA sued the Ag Dept for the breach. They then revealed that those were only “emergency regulations”, not the actual regulations that would trigger the voter-approved 5-year rule. Ag was forced to withdraw the emergency regs, and return to the drawing board to do it right. But the 5 yr rule trying to curtail the market did no good. Anyone who knew this inside trick benefited by jumping the gun, and everyone else lost, even though the rule was designed to help the small vulnerable family farms. Many of these limits are arbitrary anyway, allowing the government to control the playing field with each new restriction. If lawmakers were getting input from those who are being regulated including a broad base of knowledgable stakeholders, we could create a comprehensive look at how to replace unenforceable prohibition with reasonable regulations we can all live with. There are several interests that must be balanced but not by leaving out the essential stakeholder.

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