The original, voter-approved measure allowed any licensed physician to recommend medical marijuana to treat any condition, solely at the doctor’s own discretion. The law also allowed registered patients to possess up to eight ounces of cannabis flower, which they would be free to smoke or use in any manner they otherwise desired.
Even though the state’s voters clearly expressed their support for the law as written, conservative state legislators were thrown into a panic about this progressive law. Immediately following the vote, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin threatened to convene a special legislative session to impose additional restrictions on the program. Instead, Fallin chose to let the state Board of Health handle the regulations. “Dealing with medical marijuana is unchartered territory for our state, and there are many opinions, including divisive views even among , on how this should be implemented.” Fallin acknowledged that “Some citizens are not pleased with these actions,” but also noted the temporary nature of these regulations, adding that “Modifications could occur in the future.”
The new regulations include a number of restrictions not present in the original law. The new regulations also require all dispensaries to have a licensed pharmacist on staff, and all dispensary managers to undergo at least four hours of continuing education training per year.
The state Health Department’s general counsel, Julie Ezell, advised the Oklahoma Board of Health against adopting these new regulations, noting that they were leaving the state vulnerable to a legal challenge from the measure’s backers. As expected, Chip Paul of Oklahomans for Health said that his group is considering the possibility.