Lawsuits Arise From Rules Surrounding Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Program
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - Oklahoma's new medical marijuana program is now the subject of two lawsuits.
The first, filed by a pro-marijuana advocacy group, sues the state, Governor Fallin, and five members of the state health department.
The lawsuit stems from newly passed limitations on the state's medical marijuana program.
The state health department issued a 75-page list of regulations and provisions earlier this week but Green the Vote, along with a Tulsa business owner, is fighting back.
“These actions we believe nullifies what the Oklahoma Department of Health did,” said attorney Ronald E. Durbin II.
Green the Vote and Tulsa Businessman Kenneth Wogoman filed a lawsuit because they believe five board members violated the open meetings act when they approved amendments to the Medical Marijuana Control Program.
"Those amendments … create prohibitions and roadblocks into the implementation of 788," said Durbin.
"On Tuesday, the board voted 5-4 to approve the ban on the sale of smokable marijuana products. The five members who voted to ban them are mentioned in the lawsuit.
"We believe we have evidence that there were behind the scenes negotiations and discussions," Durbin said.
The other amendment requires a pharmacist be on-site at dispensaries, which can only be open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“Pharmacies are open on Sundays. Walgreens and other pharmacies are open 24/7,” said Durbin.
The lawsuit also claims some of the members of the board have "a personal financial interest" to the matters being considered.
Because they believe they violated the open meetings act by discussing these amendments prior to the meeting, they say those members should be punished.
"We'd ask them to act just as they've acted against all those patients that needed medical marijuana and did it in violation of the laws in the state of Oklahoma," said Durbin.
The group said they did not file this lawsuit to stop or slow down what has already been done.
“People voted for it as written,” said Wogoman.
“We are going to get our law back. We are going to get our law back,” said Chip Paul with Oklahoman’s for Health.
State Question 788 will take effect on July 26th and the Health Department will begin taking applications for licenses on August 25th. Green the Vote is also encouraging people to sign a petition to put recreational marijuana on the ballot this November as well.