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Health department releases proposed rules for medical marijuana

OKLAHOMA CITY - After Oklahoma voters approved a state question to legalize medical marijuana, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has released its proposed rules for regulating the use of medical marijuana.

On Sunday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health released an updated version of emergency rules for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority program. The 76-page document comes nearly two weeks after voters approved State Question 788, legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

One rule, for example, states doctors who plan to make recommendations on medical marijuana must be registered with the OSDH beforehand.

Another rule states "Pregnancy tests are required before a physician makes recommendation for medical marijuana to female of childbearing years." This would require the physician to consider a woman’s pregnancy status and the potential risk to an unborn child when recommending medical marijuana to a pregnant woman.

However, on Monday, the Oklahoma State Medical Association said the rules should also include three additional recommendations:

  1. Eliminating smokable cannabis as is the case in other states. Instead, dispensaries should only offer medical marijuana products that are more easily measured for doses, such as certain edibles, oils and sublingual delivery methods.
  2. Requiring pharmacists to be in the dispensaries and part of the approval process.
  3. Limiting the initial number of dispensaries and locations to 50, as requested by the cannabis industry.

"The majority of Oklahomans do not want dispensaries on every corner or strip mall," said Dr. Jean Hausheer, president of the OSMA. "Instead, rules governing dispensaries should be consistent with how the health department already addresses other medical services by limiting the number and location of treatment beds and other services based on public need."

Hausheer said she did not believe the public knew what they were voting on when they approved State Question 788.

The Oklahoma State Board of Health will review the rules on Tuesday and decide whether or not to adopt them.

"To say that voters did not have both sides of a story as to what 788 is about is ultimately disingenuous," said Jed Green with New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO)

Green serves as political director for NSCO, which funded the 'Yes On 788' campaign. He told News 4 he agreed quality control was important but did not believe some of the recommended additions would be necessary.

"One cannot help but think this is a money grab. At the end of the day, there is no real precedent for pharmacists to be involved in the process. We trust physicians will make a doctor’s recommendation to utilize the products," he said.

For a full copy of the final version, click here.