The statewide vote on medical marijuana is still three months away, but lawmakers are already working on ways to regulate the drug if it becomes legalized.
Rep. John Paul Jordan (R-Yukon) and Sen. Ervin Yen (R-Oklahoma City) are leading the effort to work out these regulations ahead of the vote, so that they do not have to play catch up if it passes. Their proposals are quite different, however.
Yen's version gives most of the power to physicians and pharmacists to distribute the drug, while Jordan outlines a patient- and business-oriented plan, regulated by an Oklahoma Cannabis Commission.
“Those companies that cultivate will provide to the processers and ultimately those both provide to the dispensaries and then the patient is able to decide upon which is the most effective form of delivery,” explained Bud Scott, executive director of the newly formed New Health Solutions Oklahoma, which aims to help finalize the language.
Scott is an attorney who worked on regulatory compliance in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. He believes State Question 788 will pass, despite the stigmas that still exist about the uses of marijuana.
He said, “You’re talking about an industry now where over 70 percent of the product is not smoking.”
Scott says Jordan's plan is more realistic than Yen's, but says it still needs work in a number of areas, including determining how many plants a patient or caregiver can grow.
“We are encouraging that we have a kind of robust verification system in place,” he said. “We want to prevent any opportunity for the black market to evolve here in Oklahoma.”
The statewide vote is scheduled for June 26.