Legislative Committee To Discuss Implementing Medical Marijuana

Saturday, July 21st 2018, 7:04 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Next week, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers will begin meeting to discuss implementing the newly passed medical marijuana law. 

The rules were supposed to be put in place by the State Board of Health.  But the board came under recent controversy; first according to the state attorney general by passing rules that were outside its scope and outside the will of the people. The controversy continued with a strange series of events involving the Health Department’s lawyer.

Department of Health Attorney Julie Ezell was accused of sending herself threatening emails tied to medical marijuana.  Text messages obtained by Nondoc.com show the head of the Oklahoma Board or Pharmacy appearing to offer Ezell a job if she includes a requirement that pharmacists must be placed in medical marijuana dispensaries. 

Lawmakers say the people who voted for state question 788 have lost faith in the Department of Health, so now it’s time for the legislature to take over. 

"We've heard from our constituents, they feel like the process has not been the will of the people right now and we're going to step in to make that happen," Said Representative Jon Echols (R) Majority Floor Leader.

A bipartisan group of 13 lawmakers will meet weekly starting Wednesday.

"The overall goal is to implement the language in 788 which is the will of the people.  And that's where I think the department of health got off base." said Echols. 

The committee will then present its recommendations to the Board of Health for implementation. 

"If they cannot or they disagree with the state questions so vehemently that they refuse to do so then we need to go ahead and get a special session called," Said Representative John Sparks (D) House Minority Leader.

Echols added, "Bureaucrats and politicians need to just do what the people tell them to do when we have votes of the people.  And that's the problem with what happened with the board of health.  If they would have just implemented the will of the voters we wouldn't be in this problem right now."

Those weekly meetings will be open to the public.