Lawsuits over medical marijuana emergency rules move forward despite approved amendments

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, Okla. -- Lawsuits over medical marijuana emergency rules are moving forward despite approved amendments, attorneys confirm.

An emergency injunction, stopping the operation of the latest rules issued by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, was filed in Cleveland County court Tuesday by Rachel Bussett with the Bussett Legal Group. Bussett is representing eight people in a lawsuit filed in July after emergency rules were first approved. Though the initial petition is not being dropped, there are plans to amend it.

The latest amended rules, approved by the Oklahoma Board of Health in August, removes the requirement of pharmacists in dispensaries and the banning of smokeable pot. It also does away with pregnancy tests for women of "childbearing age" and gets rid of THC level limits.

However, Bussett said the new rules still exceed the Oklahoma State Health Department's authority.

"We have rules trying to define the physician-patient relationship," she said. "State Question 788 63-OS-420M says in there that the physician patient rules should be normal and reasonable standards of medicine. The state doesn’t have the authority under the enabling language in 788 to come in and tell you what that looks like."

Bussett also told News 4, the approved rules also present a conflict for people who want to apply for a commercial license which must be approved through the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

"The application process they want you to apply for as soon as you apply for your license for August 25 doesn’t open until November 1, so it’s impossible to comply with that requirement because you can’t until November 1," she said. "They’ve created an impossibility of performance."

The OSDH is being represented by the office of Attorney General Mike Hunter. We're told their office cannot comment pending litigation.

The motion for the injunction was heard in court Tuesday afternoon, though the judge is giving the state until August 14 to file a response. A hearing on the matter is set for August 21 at 9 a.m.

Ron Durbin, an attorney for Green the Vote, confirms their lawsuit filed in July is also still ongoing as of Tuesday.

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