Oklahoma Bans Smokable Medical Marijuana, Sparks Lawsuit Threats

In addition to the ban on flower sales, the recently-appointed regulators passed another amendment requiring every dispensary to have a licensed pharmacist on-site.

As soon as the Board of Health vote was finalized, medical marijuana advocates and legislators across Oklahoma quickly expressed their disappointment and frustration in the sharp alterations. “Today’s decision is an affront to democracy and an insult to the law-abiding citizens that showed up to vote for this initiative.”

After Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law, State Question 788, was passed in June, Republican Governor Mary Fallin said that she was planning to arrange a special legislative session to establish concrete regulations for the impending program. With incredibly liberal language in the ballot measure, such as allowing doctors to recommend cannabis for any ailment they see fit, some advocates were worried that the special session could lead to unwanted restrictions being added. Now, with health officials enacting the smoking ban and pushing dispensaries for immediate change, lawmakers and industry insiders have united in collective opposition. “We never intended for a pharmacist to be on-site at a dispensary.”

Under the new regulations, Oklahoma patients that grow their own cannabis at home will be able to smoke their medicine, but patients without the property or space to cultivate will now be required to seek different methods of consumption.

In 2017, a similar smoking ban was put into effect in Florida shortly after the Sunshine State passed its own medical marijuana law. For the past year and a half, high-profile lawyers have been embattled in lawsuits to reverse the restrictive rule. As Oklahoma looks to begin reviewing cannabusiness license applications by the end of the summer, a similar smoking ban lawsuit could put ankle weights on the program’s progress.

In the meantime, activists and lawmakers alike are calling on Gov. Fallin to step in and reconsider a special legislative session that could override the Board of Health and implement regulations in-line with the will of Oklahoma voters.

Gov. Fallin has 45 days before she must either accept or reject the Board of Health’s proposed cannabis regulations.

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