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Oklahoma Attorney General to give advice to health department regarding medical marijuana challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY – The battle over medical marijuana is heating up after a controversial decision by the Oklahoma State Board of Health.

On Tuesday, the Board of Health approved emergency rules on medical marijuana, with two specific exceptions.

Under the new emergency rules, smokable forms of medical marijuana would be banned from being sold in dispensaries. According to Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates, licensed medical marijuana users would still be allowed to use it if it was grown themselves.

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

Immediately after the rules were announced, medical marijuana advocates called for a change.

"[The voters] knew what they were voting for. No disrespect to anybody that claims they didn't, but that's not the case. You do not outweigh the will of the people," said Chance Gilbert, with the Oklahoma Cannabis Trade Association. "The rule of law in our nation is democracy. And the democracy is not being upheld right now."

Late last week, two lawsuits were filed against the Oklahoma State Department of Health due to the rules.

On Monday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said that his office will review the legal challenges to the agency's rules on State Question 788.

The announcement comes after Oklahoma Department of Health Interim Commission Tom Bates asked for the attorney general's office to review the case.

"We will expedite this request in order to give clarity to the Department of health on how to address this legal challenge," Hunter said. "The review will be thoughtful, thorough and transparent. We will publicly release the findings and recommendations provided to Mr. Bates when completed, hopefully by the end of the week."