A group of medical marijuana supporters is aiming to place a hold on some of the state health department's current emergency rules before applications open this weekend. A judge decided Tuesday that the rules will stand, however, at least for now.
Although Cleveland County Judge Michael Tupper denied the emergency injunction, attorneys for the plaintiffs say all hope is not yet lost.
The Bussett Legal Group filed a lawsuit against the state Board of Health and the Department of Health after they passed the first emergency rules for medical marijuana in July.
The petition calls out 21 of the emergency rules on medical marijuana set by the Health Department, saying the agency does not have the authority over those aspects of the law. Some of the plaintiffs' biggest concerns are the regulations for processing and handling medical marijuana, the criminal history screening and prohibited acts for licensees and other rules that contradict current state and federal law.
Plaintiff Attorney Rachel Bussett says, “We still have the Oklahoma Constitution. All of that provides guidance for what’s happening within 788, but what 788 didn’t do was say we repeal, modify or change aspects of the law.”
Bussett says she is not surprised the judge denied her clients' injunction at this early stage. He wants to see more supporting facts to plead their case.
He did, however, agree with some of the basic concerns.
Bussett says, “Part of why we needed to do this was to get guidance from the court, and we did get something that we really expected and wanted.”
The state attorney general's office declined to comment on Tuesday's decision, but in their response to the petition, Mike Hunter's staff agrees more work needs to be done.
“Really the overall hope is that this continues to hold the feet to the fire on the government to come in and do ultimately what is necessary, which is a legislative fix,” says Bussett.
The case now heads to the discovery phase, where both parties will start to gather those facts the judge wants to see. The next court date has not yet been set.