Oklahoma medical cannabis law takes effect; revisions to problematic regs proposed
Yesterday, the penalty-reduction piece of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana initiative became operational. Individuals possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis face a reduced penalty — a misdemeanor fine of up to $400 — if they “can state a medical condition.”
Meanwhile, regulators made application materials available online for patients and caregivers, along with information for businesses and physicians. It will begin accepting applications on August 25.
In another encouraging development, regulators released proposed revisions to many of the problematic final regulations. The Board of Health will meet on August 1 at 3:00 p.m. to consider them.
Draft revisions (summarized here) would make several welcome changes, including:
• Removing the ban on selling smokeable cannabis and edibles;
• Removing the THC cap;
• Removing the requirement that pharmacists dispense cannabis;
• Making the physician registration optional;
• Removing the requirement that doctors subject all “females of childbearing age” to a pregnancy test before recommending cannabis; and
• Removing the limitation on hours of operation, which banned Sunday sales.
However, we still have some concerns, including that:
• Patients who are tenants must obtain their landlords’ written permission to cultivate. Given federal law, even landlords who are open to cultivation may be unwilling to assent in writing.
• Physicians must to “ascertain” if a female is pregnant or likely to become pregnant before recommending cannabis. This strong language may essentially require pregnancy tests for many women, which is patronizing and invasive and drives up costs.
• Physicians must provide an in-person medical exam within 30 days of the certification. Oklahoma allows telemedicine for most medications.
Comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These proposed revisions follow a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma ACLU on behalf of advocates, and advice from Attorney General Mike Hunter that some regulations exceeded the department’s authority.
If you live in Oklahoma, please speak out and spread the word. Congratulations again to everyone who worked to pass SQ 788!