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Judge denies emergency injunction on medical marijuana rules

NORMAN, Okla. — Emergency rules on the state's medical marijuana program will not be blocked, a district court judge ruled Tuesday.

After a two-hour hearing Tuesday morning at the Cleveland County Courthouse, Judge Michael Tupper denied an emergency injunction filed by the Bussett Legal Group. The motion was filed two weeks ago by attorney Rachel Bussett as an attempt to stop certain rules approved by the state Board of Health from moving forward.

The petition challenged 21 rules, such as certain definitions along with Rule 5-17, which prohibits minors from entering commercial marijuana establishments "unless the minor is a patient license holder accompanied by their parent or legal guardian".

"Some of those rules aren’t necessarily unreasonable rules, but they are rules, in our opinion, that exceed the scope of the authority that was granted to the Department of Health and this gets into the idea of the delegation of authority," Bussett told News 4.

The agency is represented by the Office of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. A spokesperson told us Tuesday that they were letting the ruling speak for itself.

Judge Tupper agreed with the state’s response to the injunction, which stated the petitioners “will not suffer irreparable harm from enforcement of the rules.” and that more evidence was needed.

The response, filed last Tuesday, argued "an injunction will only affect them by further delaying implementation of SQ788 -- creating precisely the type of harm petitioners seek the avoid. Moreover, none of the harm is likely to occur during the pendency of the litigation, as it is required for a temporary injunction."

Bussett said even with the ruling Tuesday, this is not a complete loss.

“While the court didn’t grant the injunction today, the court did talk about the rules that we pointed out to say he did have some concerns on whether or not they had the authority to do what was put in there,” she said. "The hope is the Legislature will step in and fix what it’s supposed to do. Our goal in this lawsuit to keep everybody’s feet to the fire, to get them in, to create the program that needs to be created because there is dichotomy in the law."

A spokesperson for the state health department says applications for medical marijuana licenses can be submitted starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. If applications are in order, the first licenses should be mailed out during the week of September 10.

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