Medical marijuana group asking for special session to determine regulations

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OKLAHOMA CITY-The group New Health Solutions Oklahoma wants Governor Mary Fallin to call lawmakers back to work on medical marijuana.

After voters approved the recent state question Fallin she would be discussing with legislative leaders and state agencies the options going forward on how best to proceed with adding a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses.

Last Friday Fallin said a special legislative session wasn't necessary.

"The governor just prior to the election sent out a release indicating she wanted to have a special session, and on Friday flip-flop that position," said Jed Green, political director with New Health Solutions.

New Health Solutions Oklahoma, the same group that helped push the passage of state question 788 sent a statement asking for lawmakers to help the Health Department construct statues and regulations.

"It's going to crush the health department.

The governor is setting up the health department to take the fall for the fact that she is failing to show leadership," said Green.

The Health Department has rolled out emergency rules for medical cannabis which will be available online July 26.

However, Green said OSDH can only do so much without the possibility of getting sued.

"We would like to see the system in place that specifies exactly the type of background checks that we need on people who want to get in the business. So that we know this isn't cartel money, that this isn't mob money, that this isn't out of state money. We need to see the statute that provides for testing of the product for a safety issue. We need law enforcement to know where they stand on this," Green said.

Green said the way the law stands today anyone can grow marijuana.

"We would like to see the system in place that specifies exactly the type of background checks that we need on people who want to get in the business," Green said.

"We need to see the statute that provides for testing of the product for a safety issue. We need law enforcement to know where they stand on this," he said.

The Governor's Office did respond to the New Health Solutions Oklahoma call for a special session.

In a statement a spokesperson said,

"The governor’s office believes that asking the Legislature to pass comprehensive legislation to fully regulate a new and very complex industry in a special session is not realistic. Mr. Scott and others are encouraged to weigh in on suggesting rules or regulations to implement State Question 788 to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The Health Department has proposed emergency rules after working the past three months on developing a medical and proper regulatory framework for implementing SQ 788. Written comments are being accepted. This is a much quicker and more cost-efficient process than attempting to go through a special legislative session during an election cycle."

Officials say the emergency rules governing the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will be considered by the board of health on July 10.

Application information and requirements will be available by July 26, and the agency will begin accepting applications no later than Aug. 25.

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