Oklahoma Health Department’s Top Attorney Resigns, Faces Felony Charges

Julie Ezell, general counsel for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, explains rules suggested by the Authority to the Oklahoma Board of Health in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The board said the state won’t allow the sale of smokable cannabis and that dispensaries must have a pharmacist on staff. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Update:

The top lawyer at the Oklahoma State Department of Health who recently resigned now faces criminal charges after authorities said she sent threats to herself and then lied about it to investigators.

The agency’s former general counsel, 37-year-old Julia Ezell of Edmond, was charged Tuesday in Oklahoma County with three felony counts. An agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation wrote in an affidavit that Ezell sent threatening messages to her own official government email and then reported that to authorities.

Ezell resigned her position as general counsel on Friday. She had helped draft rules on medical marijuana approved by the agency’s board last week.

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Court records do not list an attorney for Ezell. A telephone message left at a number listed for Ezell was not immediately returned.

Oklahoma voters approved medicinal cannabis in June.

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Original story:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The top attorney at the Oklahoma State Department of Health has resigned days after her advice on marijuana rules was ignored by the agency’s board.

Health Department officials confirmed Tuesday that Julie Ezell resigned as the agency’s general counsel on Friday, effective immediately. The agency declined additional comment.

“I am so sorry.”
Julie Ezell, former Oklahoma Health Department general counsel

In a brief email to the agency’s interim commissioner, Ezell wrote: “I am so sorry.”

Ezell cautioned the board last week against banning smokable marijuana and requiring a pharmacist in every dispensary. She said those last-minute changes were beyond the board’s legal authority and would likely invite a lawsuit, but the board voted to make the changes anyway, prompting two separate lawsuits by medical marijuana advocates.

Ezell had helped write emergency rules after Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana last month.