Backers Of Medical Marijuana Protesting Proposed 'Unity Bill' Rules

Thursday, March 7th 2019, 6:48 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Backers of the bill that legalized medical marijuana in Oklahoma are taking shots at the rules proposed to regulate it. 

The group “Yes on 788” is largely responsible for medical marijuana being legalized.  Now, they’re fighting to have proposed rules scrapped.

Members of Yes on 788 say the so called “Unity” bill; a bill agreed upon by lawmakers and backers of medical marijuana, isn’t very unifying at all.  For example, they’re opposed to the testing requirements that lawmakers say are in place to ensure medical marijuana is the proper potency and free of dangerous chemicals.

Read Related Story: 'Unity Bill' Regulating Medical Marijuana Passes In State House Of Representatives 

“I believe in a free market, which is surprising to me when there are so many conservatives in the building I’m standing in that take an opposite position than me of a free market. What’s happening with testing is it’s driving a cost, an artificial cost," said Shawn Jenkins of Yes on 788.

The group also opposes a portion of the bill that would allow employers to turn down applicants with medical marijuana cards if they are applying for so-called “safety sensitive jobs”, like operating heavy machinery or driving a school bus.

“When you get down to the details of it, it actually affects anyone in the state of Oklahoma which would have a medical marijuana card, and that is in contradiction to 788," said Jenkins.

Senator Greg McCortney (R) Ada responded, “Some of the best human resource lawyers in the state helped us with that language and we tried to keep it narrow, so I think it’s just a misreading probably of the statute.”

Ultimately, the group wants the legislature to scrap the rules.

“What can we do? We can actually turn our intent to actually helping people instead of making it a little bit more difficult," said Jenkins.

“I don’t think we’re claiming the unity bill is perfect," said McCourtney. “But it’s the best vehicle we’ve got right now. It’ll take us years to protect the system and in the end not everybody is going to be happy about the way this gets implemented.”

The Unity Bill already passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate is expected to take it up Monday