NEWS BRIEF

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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