Senate Dems Call For Special Session To Address Medical Marijuana

Thursday, July 19th 2018, 11:14 am
By: Grant Hermes

Senate Democrats called for a special session late Wednesday afternoon just hours after Attorney General Mike Hunter said the State Department of Health’s board was out of line when passing last-minute rules on medical marijuana.

"The Senate Democratic Caucus urges Governor Fallin to call the legislature into special session to address issues related to medical marijuana.. "As elected legislators, it is our constitutional duty to carry out the will of the people," Democratic leader Sen. John Sparks simply said in a statement.

His plea comes after Hunter told the Board of Health it acted outside it’s authority when adding two new regulations to the language of state question 788 which legalized marijuana. The rules banned smokeable marijuana and required a pharmacist to be present at marijuana dispensaries.

Both rules were opposed by the board’s former general counsel but were signed off on by Gov. Mary Fallin. The board has since become involved in a pair of ongoing lawsuits over the rules.

House Democrats have also been calling for a special session. However, after Oklahomans voted for medical marijuana, Fallin decided it could be put into place without calling lawmakers back to work. On Wednesday she also called on the Board to rescind the rules she signed, but stopped short of calling for a special session.

Last week, Republican leadership announced they will be convening a bi-partisan working group to hold joint hearings about medical marijuana rules, something of a midway point to holding a special session to get something done before the next session.

News9/Newson6 reached out to both House and Senate Republicans about whether they think a special session should be called and did not get a response.

There's no date set either for when that working group will meet but members could be announced as soon as Thursday afternoon.