OKLAHOMA CITY – Less than a week after voters approved a state question to legalize medical marijuana, a battle is brewing over a canceled special session.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma voters headed to the polls and approved State Question 788, which legalizes medical marijuana for some patients.
Under the state question, a person 18 years or older would need to apply for a medical marijuana license with the Oklahoma State Department of Health after receiving a note from their doctor. If approved, the patient would then have to pay $100 to obtain that license.
Patients would be allowed to legally possess up to 3 ounces of the drug on them, six mature plants and six seedlings. They could also possess one ounce of concentrated marijuana, 72 ounces of edible marijuana and 8 ounces of marijuana in their home. At this time, there are no qualifying conditions and it would be taxed at 7 percent for all marijuana sales.
Those caught with up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana who “can state a medical condition, but not in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license” could face a misdemeanor charge and a fine not to exceed $400.
Before the measure was approved by voters, Gov. Fallin announced that she would call a special session if the measure passed so lawmakers could create the framework and rules for the initiative.
However, she announced that a special session wasn’t needed on Friday.
Now, a trade group for medical cannabis is calling on Fallin to reverse her decision.
“The governor’s announcement that she will not pursue a Special Session is not a victory for medical cannabis; it is a failure of leadership,” said New Health Solutions Oklahoma Executive Director Bud Scott. “Treating sick Oklahomans with medical cannabis requires establishing a new and very complex industry that includes growers, processing facilities, distributors, dispensaries, medical research, security and technology companies and a variety of other professional services. All of these sub-industries, and the thousands of jobs they represent, require responsible legislation establishing an orderly and fairly regulated marketplace. The governor has now left the state without a path to establishing such a marketplace, even as the deadline for implementing SQ 788 remains less than 30 days away. It is a decision that no responsible Oklahoman should be happy with. It is certainly a decision that will make it harder for Oklahomans with conditions like cancer, PTSD and epilepsy to get the medical products they need.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has worked for the past three months to develop a framework for implementing the requirements of the state question.
Officials say the emergency rules governing the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will be considered by the board of health on July 10.
Application information and requirements will be available by July 26, and the agency will begin accepting applications no later than Aug. 25.
“The people have spoken,” said Scott. “Our lawmakers need to act now, in a special legislative session, to carry out their will. The governor and the Legislature cannot continue to skirt their obligation to the half million Oklahomans who voted in favor of medical cannabis. These are energized, passionate activists who are ready to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions – or inactions – in the upcoming elections.”