Medical marijuana: Was 788 specific enough? Lawmakers step in

OKLAHOMA CITY - State lawmakers are stepping in after the Oklahoma Board of Health's adoption of last minute amendments to State Question 788, which would prevent the sale of "smokable" marijuana and require a pharmacist to be on duty at dispensaries. The rules were also signed by Gov. Mary Fallin.

This comes after a state question for medical marijuana was approved by voters. State Question 788 was drafted by the Oklahoma Cannabis Trade Association.

"The 500,000 plus knew exactly what they voted for and that was not upheld at the board," said Chance Gilbert, with the Oklahoma Cannabis Trade Association.

"To allow smokable forms would be a step back as protectors of public health in Oklahoma and certainly reasonable people can differ on that," said Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates.

Gilbert believes it was a ploy.

"I think it was both big pharma and the hospital association having meetings behind closed doors to push their will," said Gilbert.

For comparison, News 4 took a look at the laws in Arkansas, another conservative state where medical marijuana is legal. Arkansas lists qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana and also says where someone can or cannot smoke it. These are elements that 788 lacks.

Gilbert says it's understood that people want to smoke medical marijuana, which is why his group didn't list that in the state question.

"The issue was never smoking in public and that`s honestly a ploy and a scare tactic," said Gilbert, who also noted that medical conditions were intentionally left out. "788 isn`t supposed to be limiting. It`s supposed to be free access to the patients who need it."

He also says a lot of research and feedback from other states went into drafting 788.

On Thursday, Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore-designate Greg Treat announced a Bi-Partisan group was formed to carry out the "will of the voters."

"The Oklahoma Senate will not undo the will of voters, who spoke loudly by passing State Question 788," said Senator Treat.