OKLAHOMA CITY – Advocates say a new law regarding medical marijuana and traffic stops will be put on hold as a case plays out in court.
Senate Bill 1030 was signed into law in May. It primarily focuses on zoning rules, however, there is a provision over traffic stops and what happens if a medical marijuana patient does not have their card on them.
“Before Senate Bill 1030, they could either get fined or actually be arrested and put in jail for the weekend,” Sen. Lonnie Paxton told News 4. “So, what Senate Bill 1030 does is it clears all that up and says that, if it’s an ounce and a half of marijuana or less and they don’t have their card with them, they cannot be arrested but they can still be fined.”
Officials say police officers would be able to verify that someone legally has a medical marijuana card through the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System.
“The State Department of Health shall assist any law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duties upon such law enforcement officer’s request or the request of other local officials having jurisdiction. The department shall share information with law enforcement agencies upon request without a subpoena or search warrant,” the bill states. “The State Department of Health shall make available all information displayed on medical marijuana licenses, as well as whether or not the license is valid, to law enforcement electronically through the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System.”
While supporters say it would prevent patients from receiving a ticket, critics say it is an invasion of privacy.
Earlier this month, Tulsa attorney Rob Durbin filed the lawsuit on behalf of Tulsa Higher Care Clinic Inc. and 11 patients. He argues that Senate Bill 1030 could cause medical marijuana patients to be singled out and treated differently during traffic stops.
“Patient information is not part of what was supposed to be disclosed to OLETS and law enforcement,” Durbin said. “What they intended to be disclosed was business license information. What this bill does, by allowing patient information to be released, is it essentially brands every medical marijuana patient license holder with a scarlet letter in the state of Oklahoma.”
At the time, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority released the following statement:
"The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) are aware of potential discrepancies in the language of SB1030. The agency welcomes the opportunity to receive direction from the court on this issue. It is also important to emphasize that no patient data has been shared with any agency or the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (OLETS), and no information will be shared until the court has decided this question."
Originally, the law was set to go into effect later this month.
Now, Durbin says that the law is being put on hold as the case prepares to go before the court.
On Wednesday, Durbin said that the State of Oklahoma agreed that the law will not be enforced during the pendency of the lawsuit.