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Oklahoma Officials Defied Will of the People, AG Says

July 19, 2018
Oklahoma's Attorney General Mike Hunter said state health officials overly restricted medical cannabis options. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Board of Health overstepped its authority with several of the emergency rules on medical marijuana it adopted last week, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter wrote Wednesday in a letter to the head of the agency.

In the letter to Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates, Hunter specifically cites last-minute changes the nine-member board approved last week that prohibit the sale of smokable marijuana and require a pharmacist at every dispensary.

Those rules were recommended by groups representing doctors, pharmacists and hospitals, but were fiercely opposed by medical marijuana advocates. The board approved those two rules despite a warning from its own general counsel that members didn’t have the authority to do so.

Hunter says several other rules adopted by the board appear to go beyond its statutory authority, including limits on the amount of THC allowed in cannabis products, restrictions on dispensaries, requiring surety bonds for licensing and requiring medical marijuana to be grown in enclosed structures.

Officials Must Do Will of People

Hunter said none of those regulations was authorized under State Question 788, the proposal to legalize medical marijuana that Oklahoma residents approved last month with 57 percent of the vote.

“I have no doubt that the board in good faith sought to regulate marijuana in a manner it believed would best promote the health and safety of Oklahomans,” Hunter wrote. “However, in so doing, the board made policy judgments not authorized by statute.

Those policy judgments are the prerogative of the Legislature and the people.
Mike Hunter, Oklahoma Attorney General

“Those policy judgments are the prerogative of the Legislature and the people.”

Hunter suggested the board reconvene to reconsider the rules based on his recommendations.

State Board of Health President Tim Starkey said in a statement that he has asked the agency’s staff to make the recommended changes and plans to call a special meeting to consider those changes “as soon as possible.”

Related

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

The board’s adoption of the new rules, which were quickly signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, already has led to two separate lawsuits filed by medical marijuana advocates.

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  • Dirk Ketron

    Just more corruption going on in the “good ol’ boy” state government. They were just pissed off that the bill passed, despite the $500,000 they spent advocating against it. Bunch of uneducated, self-serving assholes, trying to circumvent the will of the people. There is no public safety to defend, just smoke and mirrors

  • Jack Hamilton

    There are 2 types of people; those who think they know better than everyone else, and want to control us, and those who want to be left alone. No one has the right to tell anyone what they can do or put in their body or what they do in the privacy of their own home, unless it harms or deprives someone else of their rights. The illusion that somehow, government obtains the authority to do things that no single individual person may do, is a huge myth, and yet, we the people are too brainwashed and dumbed down, lacking critical thinking skills because the MSM and the government sponsored educational system, teaches us to do as we’re told and not to question, so-called authority. It’s become so bad that many, if not most, people believe that patriotism is not questioning authority when, in fact, patriotism is to always question authority!