Green The Vote Adds More Defendants To 788 Lawsuit

Friday, July 20th 2018, 5:45 pm
By: Amy Avery

The group Green the Vote is amending their lawsuit to add more defendants, including the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy. They say their goal is still the same, but they want Oklahoma to know they aren't backing down.

The Attorney and plaintiffs in this lawsuit still want criminal charges against the board for violating the open meetings act but now but now they say they have evidence to prove there are more people involved and they are amending their lawsuit to reflect that.

"We have to stand up for ourselves," said Isaac Caviness, President of Green the Vote.

Caviness says he keeps in touch with many patients who have fled Oklahoma to other legal states to get treatment.

He says many of them ask him if they can finally come home and he doesn't know what to tell them.

“The last thing I want is for them to leave their legal state, come back to Oklahoma and not be able to have access to control whatever it is that they are using cannabis for,” said Caviness.

In the past week, the Attorney General has spoken out against the regulations and the OSBI has opened an investigation into the board's attorney, Julie Ezell.

Because of the recent investigation, Green the Vote and its attorney, Ron Durbin, has decided to add at least two additional defendants to their lawsuit, including Ezell and Chelsea Church, the Executive Director of the State Board of Pharmacy.

“We have reason to believe based on text messages that have been released that ms church was inducing Ms Ezell to put a pharmacist requirement in there in exchange for the promise of a job at a higher pay,” said attorney, Ron Durbin II.

Durbin says he believes additional members of the board may have participated in similar schemes.

“We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to the corruption surrounding this,” said Durbin.

“There's so much corruption going on there at this point that the citizens in the state of Oklahoma to be able to trust the health department to actually regulate 788 we feel like they need to start with a clean slate,” said Caviness.

The group says their goal with their original lawsuit hasn’t changed and they still would like the Oklahoma County District Attorney to pursue charges against the board for violating the Open Meetings Act.

“He has the authority and the power to do so,” said Durbin. “He’s done it before. He’s prosecuted state officials for violating the open meetings act and other laws so we’re just asking him to do what he’s done before.”

Since the board passed the regulations last Tuesday, Caviness says they've seen overwhelming support for their petitions to legalize recreational marijuana and to prevent over-regulation of medical marijuana that they are having trouble keeping up with demand.

“There have been so many people reaching out wanting to help volunteer to gather those signatures and find out where to sign,” said Caviness.

Caviness says people who voted no on 788 have even come into his store to say that they were going to sign 796 and 797 because they felt the Oklahoma State Board of Health was overstepping their boundaries.

“These people cannot be letting our citizens suffer just because their way of thinking is not the same as ours,” said Caviness.

Green the Vote also recently got a pledge of half a million dollars from Former Candidate for Governor, Chris Barnett to match any donations that come in between now and August 1st at Green the Vote's Website.

The group is also adding Oklahomans for health and Chip Paul as plaintiffs to their lawsuit. 

06/20/2018 Related Story: Man Thrown Out Of SQ 788 Forum Suing Rogers County Sheriff