Health department preparing plan in case voters approve medical marijuana measure
OKLAHOMA CITY – In a month, Oklahoma residents will head to the polls to decide the fate of a ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana.
On June 26, Oklahoma voters will head to the polls to vote on State Question 788, which would legalize medical marijuana for some patients.
Under the state question, a person 18 years or older would need to apply for a medical marijuana license with the Oklahoma State Department of Health after receiving a note from their doctor. If approved, the patient would then have to pay $100 to obtain that license.
Patients would be allowed to legally possess up to 3 ounces of the drug on them, six mature plants and six seedlings. They could also possess one ounce of concentrated marijuana, 72 ounces of edible marijuana and 8 ounces of marijuana in their home. At this time, there are no qualifying conditions and it would be taxed at 7 percent for all marijuana sales.
Those caught with up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana who “can state a medical condition, but not in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license” could face a misdemeanor charge and a fine not to exceed $400.
Although voters haven’t approved the state question yet, the Oklahoma State Department of Health is working to make sure they have the proper plans in place in the event the measure passes.
The health department says it has already researched previously approved medical marijuana programs in other states, and has submitted an estimated budget to the legislature based on that research.
Officials say they have started the process of drafting administrative rules, which would be considered by the State Board of Health at their July meeting if the state question passes.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has also released answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding medical marijuana:
- When will applications be available if SQ 788 passes? – The department has 30 days to make the application available after the election.
- Where will the application be available? – There will be a link to the application on the department’s website.
- Who will be in charge of approving medical marijuana licenses? – The department will create a regulatory office to oversee the program. This office will receive all licensing applications related to medical marijuana including patients, growers, distributors, transporters and dispensaries. In total, there are eight groups that would be subject to the application process.
- How much does a patient medical marijuana license cost? – Oklahomans 18-years-old and older would need to get a physician’s signature attesting that they need medical marijuana. Licenses would cost $100 and need to be renewed every two years. For Oklahomans on Medicaid, Medicare or SoonerCare, medical marijuana licenses would cost $20.
- What is the process for producers and distributors to obtain licensing? -Individual applicants must be at least 25-years-old, reside in oklahoma and must be registered to conduct business in the state in order to apply as a commercial grower, distributor, transporter or a dispensary. Entities can have outside ownership consisting of no more than 25 percent ownership by non-Oklahoma residents. Each license would cost $2,500.
- Could SQ 788 be changed by the Legislature after it is passed by the voters? – Yes, it is a statutory rather than constitutional measure, meaning lawmakers could amend the law with a simple majority vote.