OKLAHOMA CITY – A local GOP group is speaking out following a controversial decision by the state’s Board of Health regarding the rules for medical marijuana.
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 sale 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.
Medical marijuana advocates say they are prepared to take their fight to court.
"We will absolutely throw the book at them with class-action lawsuits on behalf of patients. We won't be railroaded," Chip Paul, with Oklahomans for Health, said. "We simply want our state question implemented and properly regulated."
Now, the Oklahoma County and Tulsa Republic Parties are calling on state lawmakers to get involved to "reinstate the will of the people and do whatever is needed to oust the bureaucratic authoritarians within the Oklahoma State Board of Health," a news release from the group read.
"We ask that they move as quickly as possible to resolve this matter. Our country is a constitutional republic, and state government, under the United States Constitution and its amendments, is supposed to respect the voice of the people and due process. Last week’s actions by the OSBH are truly repugnant. Not only did they show no regard for the will of the people, but that they are truly part of the governmental swamp that seeks to legislate outside the republican form of government," said Oklahoma County Republican Chairman Daren Ward.
The group says the Oklahoma State Board of Health drafted rules that were "counter to the language in the ballot measure and created a compromised medical marijuana system that hinders access to patients and discourages qualified medical professionals from taking part."
“The ‘we know better attitude’ expressed by the OSBH and the shocking approval by our current Governor shows contempt for the liberties and the rights we express at the ballot box as citizens,” said Tulsa County Republican Chairman David McLain. “I call on all Republicans to contact your legislators, from either party, and ask for a quick resolution to this desecration of the citizens’ voice.”
Last week, Republican leadership announced plans to create a bipartisan working group with House and Senate members who will work with medical marijuana stakeholders.
“The Oklahoma Senate will not undo the will of voters, who spoke loudly by passing State Question 788,” said Senate Majority flood leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “While the Health Department and its commissioner did yeoman’s work in drafting emergency rules, the Board of Health’s adoption of last-minute amendments without public comments has undermined the public’s confidence in the system. Lawmakers have the ability to amend this law as we move forward to address any issues which may arise.”