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Medical marijuana approved in Oklahoma

by | Jul 05, 2018

Through a ballot initiative, Oklahoma voters approved the regulated use, sale and growth of medical marijuana by a vote of roughly 57% to 43%, according to unofficial results posted by the state. This adds Oklahoma to a continually growing list of states legalizing marijuana for medical use, despite conflicting federal law.

When the program is established, a license from the state’s department of health will be required for use and possession and must be approved by an Oklahoma Board Certified Physician. The health department will also be required to issue licenses for sellers, growers, packaging, transportation, research and caregivers. Individual and retail businesses will be required to meet certain requirements to be licensed to sell.

There are no specific qualifying conditions for licensees/users. A medical marijuana license must be recommended according to “the accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow when recommending or approving any medication.”

It is worth noting that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued a statement about the approved initiative, calling into question some of its potentially loose provisions. In the statement, Fallin noted, “I believe, as well as many Oklahomans, this new law is written so loosely that it opens the door for basically recreational marijuana.” She added, “I will be discussing with legislative leaders and state agencies our options going forward on how best to proceed with adding a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses.”

In response to this voter approval, the department of health issued a statement that it has worked for the past three months to develop a framework for implementing the requirements and is ready to meet those requirements. Emergency rules to govern the new Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will be considered shortly. Application information and requirements will be available by July 26, with the agency beginning to accept applications no later than August 25. Program information will eventually be made available online.

Details on the initiative can be read here. The department of health’s statement and links to other related resources can be obtained here. Governor Fallin’s statement can be read here.

For questions on this or any other developing legislative or regulatory topics, please feel free to contact our Government Affairs Team at AskGovtAffairs@optum.com.



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