Democrats Call For Special Session For Medical Marijuana

Friday, September 14th 2018, 5:59 pm

Democrats in a working group developing recommendations for medical marijuana distribution, say they want the governor to call a special session. They say that’s the only way to have the rules implemented safely. But the governor is against the idea. 

Democratic members of the working group say the group isn’t working. They say the Department of Health doesn’t have the authority it needs to safely oversee the testing of medical marijuana. 

Read Related Story: State Department Of Health Talks Implementation Of SQ 788

"The only way to do that is to have a special session and give the health department the authority to issue licenses to entities that can do that testing,” said Representative Steve Kouplen (D) House Democratic Leader.

Democrats say that testing is necessary to ensure consumers are getting the right potency marijuana, free of harmful chemicals.

Republicans say this is just political theater.

Senator Greg McCourtney released a statement saying, “The Minority leader is wrong. At a meeting just two weeks ago, representatives from the Health Department agreed with my co-chair that the Health Department could right now work alongside our legislative working group to develop and implement testing regulations.”

Kouplen said, "I sat through those same meetings and I didn't interpret those proceedings to say that.”

Backers of State Question 788 say they’ve already done the ground work for lawmakers and drafted legislation.

Jed Green of New Health Solutions said, "It was based on the will of 788, it was based on the language of 788, it was based on the best practices of successful programs around the country. We felt it's not necessary for us to invest our own wheel."

Green says the proposed legislation takes into account employee-employer issues, fines for wrongfully selling medical marijuana and protections for gun owners.

"What we are able to do to protect our gun owners rights is to implement state level protections. What those do is simply state that you will not be discriminated against whether you want or have a concealed or open carry license,” Green said.

Governor Mary Fallin doesn’t think a special session is necessary. “We can’t just cut and paste tidbits from other programs and expect them to work here. A special session would be an expensive burden…,” she said.

Kouplen responded, "I know the governor said it would be a costly endeavor to have the special session. I don't know that you can put a price tag on public safety.”