Legislature looks to Board of Health for medical cannabis rules | State

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Legislature’s joint medical marijuana committee Wednesday permitted a set of nonbinding rules designed to govern laboratory testing and labeling of medicinal merchandise.

But with no authority to truly implement them with no particular session, lawmakers referred to as on the state Board of Health to undertake their almost 12 pages of suggestions — or one thing comparable.

State Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, stated testing and labeling rules are key medical marijuana legalization points that have to be addressed as quickly as attainable. Hundreds of dispensaries are scheduled to open and certain will begin promoting medical marijuana merchandise in weeks.

The Board of Health, in the meantime, has no obligation to comply with the recommendation of lawmakers.

“In the end, the Board of Health may completely ignore the work we do here today,” McCortney stated.

The Board of Health, which has been tasked with setting the emergency rules, initially adopted labeling and testing laws, however then rescinded them in August amid considerations from the state’s Attorney General concerning the board’s authority to implement them.

Lawmakers stated they're assured the Board of Health does have the authority to regulate that facet of the fledgling medical marijuana business.

However, it remained unclear Wednesday afternoon whether or not the board has any urge for food to rethink the difficulty. While members might name a particular assembly, the board isn’t presently scheduled to meet once more till December, stated State Department of Health spokesman Tony Sellars.

The board additionally didn't contemplate medical marijuana rules at both of its final two conferences, and have but to take up a collection of pending meals security requirements suggestions.

McCortney stated if the well being board refuses to do one thing about testing and labeling, “I think at that moment the need for the Legislature to be called into special session goes through the roof.”

Chris Moe, a cannabis activist who has attended many of the joint group’s conferences, stated the legislative committee’s vote has no significance.

“The truth of the matter is it has no legal grounds,” Moe stated. “The Health Department doesn’t have to follow anything they said.”

He questioned why the Legislature isn’t already planning a particular session, and stated he has little religion the well being board will take up the newest suggestions.

“I think the Health Department will do whatever they want because the attorney general and the governor have been making all the calls,” he stated.

During an interview Monday with the Enid News & Eagle, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin stated there have to be help from House and Senate management so as to name a particular session. With the upcoming November elections, there hasn’t been so much of help.

Enacting medical marijuana laws is complicated, and other people didn’t understand how difficult till numerous teams testified concerning the ramifications, she stated. Those considerations vary from docs worrying about legal responsibility once they obtain federal Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements to depositing cash in banks when cannabis stays unlawful federally, she stated.

“But I do think the Legislature needs to have a bill ready and go into session — whatever that timeframe is — to address this issue and give certainty to the growers, to the recipients who want to be able to use medical marijuana, and protections for various businesses that will worry about breaking federal law and getting in trouble,” Fallin stated.

State Rep. Ben Loring, D-Miami, stated the suggestions are important — even when the vote is “symbolic.”

He stated whereas lawmakers can’t make the well being board take up the difficulty, there’s no cause to consider they gained’t.

“Now that we’ve given them the nudge, I’m just hopeful that they’ll be willing,” Loring stated.

 

Enid News & Eagle Reporter Mitchell Willetts contributed to this report.

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