Supporters of the medical marijuana industry are speaking up about regulating the drug in Oklahoma, now that it is legal.
Last week, Gov. Mary Fallin announced there would not be a special session, but some feel the state health department cannot do the job alone.
New Health Solutions Oklahoma members have been handing out a four-page memo to lawmakers, with their own suggestions on regulating medical marijuana. They want the special session to happen to prevent potential legal action from opponents.
New Health Solutions Oklahoma executive director Bud Scott said those who do not want a special session do not understand what it takes to have an iron-clad plan.
“Our membership includes companies that actually manage the regulatory systems in other states,” he pointed out. “I don’t think anyone else can boast that in the state of Oklahoma.”
Right now, the state health department has 30 days from last week's vote to release its regulations, then another 30 days to implement them. Scott thinks it will take at least 120 days to get it right.
“No state program has been successful in developing their program in less than nine months, and we’re asking these guys to do this in two months with absolutely no political support or cover. That’s unacceptable,” Scott said.
New Health Solutions Oklahoma wants lawmakers to have about a week-long special session, using the organization's guidelines, which include third-party contracted regulatory oversight for everything from inventory management at grow houses and dispensaries to patient applications and purchases.
“We will be subject to litigation from pretty much anyone under the current rules as drafted,” Scott said, “because the state department of health is not completely authorized to do many of the things they are trying to do.”
Scott said they have some support for the special session, but they are working to get more lawmakers on board.
“We’re educating folks as we go,” he said, “but I think a lot of people realize that this is an opportunity for everyone to kind of be a hero on this.”
Last week, the interim state health commissioner says his department will come up with the best program they can.