OKLAHOMA CITY – A medical marijuana organizer is speaking out after the general counsel for the Oklahoma State Department of Health was charged.
Julie Ezell resigned as a general counsel for the Oklahoma State Health Department effective immediately amid a criminal investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Investigators with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation say Ezell created a fake email account, which she used to send herself threatening emails which were later reported to the agency.
According to the affidavit, the string of emails began on July 8. That was two days before Ezell presented emergency rules on medical marijuana to the Board of Health. The board later approved two controversial amendments Ezell advised against, banning the sale of smokeable medical marijuana and requiring pharmacists on-site of dispensaries.
One of the emails allegedly sent by Ezell from the account “MaryJame@protonmail.com” stated “you won’t be able to ignore us today. Check yourself.” On the same day, the board approved the new emergency rules, investigators say Ezell sent another email to herself stating “You impose laws like a dictator and respect none of them.”
“Multiple interviews were conducted, an examination of a cell phone was conducted, the evidence traced itself back to Julie Ezell,” Jordan Solorzano, an agent with the OSBI, said.
According to court documents, Ezell admitted to sending herself the emails.
She faces three total charges: Using access to computers to violate Oklahoma statutes, false reports of crime, and false preparation of exhibits as evidence.
On Wednesday, New Health Solutions Oklahoma Executive Director Bud Scott released the following statement:
“Almost three weeks ago, Governor Fallin and legislative leaders announced that no special legislative session was necessary to implement a successful medical cannabis program. They assured voters that the Oklahoma State Department of Health was legally and logistically able to create reasonable rules and regulations and the will of the people would be carried out. They did this over the objections of the medical cannabis industry, which continues to advocate for a special legislative session dedicated to creating an orderly marketplace with a legitimate regulatory infrastructure.
“Since that decision was made, we have seen the unelected Board of Health illegally overrule a democratically approved ballot initiative, multiple lawsuits filed against that board, criminal charges brought against the department’s top attorney, and a bizarre attempt to paint supporters of medical cannabis as malicious or threatening. This is not what successful implementation looks like.
“The refusal of our elected officials to actively and immediately engage on this issue has led to unnecessary controversy, confusion and wrongdoing. Lack of leadership has compromised and threatened our democracy by allowing the will of the people to be overruled, ignored and disrespected. Elected officials who believe in the rule of law and respect their constituents will join us in calling for a special session to ensure that State Question 788 is successfully implemented.”