Oklahoma Medical Marijuana: Smokable Products Banned

Tuesday, July 10th 2018, 9:28 am
By: Tess Maune

The Oklahoma State Board of Health approved the emergency rules to govern the state's Medical Marijuana Authority.

The board approved of the rules with the exception of selling smokable cannabis. It was a close vote, but they voted to ban smokable products. Patients can still grow it at home and smoke it.

They also voted to require pharmacists at dispensaries.

"This comes even though SQ 788 contained explicit language legalizing both smokable and edible marijuana and outlined guidelines for dispensaries," a news release from New Health Solutions Oklahoma states. NHSO is a trade group for medical cannabis businesses.

NHSO Executive Director Bud Scott said most medical cannabis products available in other states would be illegal under the new rules.

The group called on the governor to reject the additional rules, or if she does not, for the legislature to hold a special session "to ensure SQ 788 is implemented as voters intended and expected it to be."

The Health Department received public comments since June 26. Ahead of Tuesday's meeting, the board released revised emergency rules on Sunday. 

Oklahomans for Health, the group that led the petition drive to get State Question 788 on the ballot, worked closely with the health department in crafting the emergency rules.

The group says it agrees with the rules for the most part but says there are some big issues - including a limit on THC content.

"Most of the medical marijuana strains run between 15 and 25 percent THC, so that's pretty standard average," said Chip Paul, Oklahomans for Health. 

"Again that's not something we need to regulate. That's something nature determines about a plant. Let's identify it properly, give you the proper data to insure your safety - let's not cap it."

7/9/2018 Related Story: Medical Marijuana Regulation: OK Health Officials Share Thoughts

Several medical organizations, including the Oklahoma State Medical Association, say they want  pharmacists to be in dispensaries, a limit on the number and location of dispensaries, and they don't want smokable products to be sold. 

"In these forms the product contains hundreds of unknown active chemicals - all of which can pose health hazards to both the smokers and those around," said Dr. Leroy Young, D.O., Oklahoma Osteopathic Association.

Here are the 20 rules that were up for consideration: 

1. All recommendations for a patient to receive a medical marijuana license must be made by an Oklahoma Board Certified Physician.  Only physicians who are licensed by either the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, or the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners and meet the requirements of  the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision or the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners to hold themselves out as “Board Certified” are eligible to make a recommendation for medical marijuana.

2. All physicians who plan to make recommendations for medical marijuana must register with the Department prior to making medical marijuana recommendations.

*3. All patients receiving a recommendation from their physician for medical marijuana must have that recommendation reviewed by their physician at least annually. Additionally, physicians must screen for substance abuse, mental health issues, and whether the patient presents a risk for the diversion of marijuana prior to making a recommendation for medical marijuana.

*4. Pregnancy tests are required before a physician makes recommendation for medical marijuana to female of childbearing years. The rules require the physician to consider a woman’s pregnancy status and the potential risk to an unborn child when recommending medical marijuana to a pregnant woman.

*5. Recommendations for medical marijuana for minor patients must be made by either a  pediatrician or one a physician with a board certification in a pediatric specialty.

*6. Patient license holders can appoint a caregiver if they are unable to ambulate or meet other criteria. The caregiver will receive a license from the Department and may obtain medical marijuana from the dispensary on behalf of the patient.  All patient and caregiver licenses are valid for two years, subject to restrictions.

7. All patient license holders are eligible to home grow their own marijuana subject to the limitations on amounts imposed by the state question.  All home grown medical marijuana must be behind a fence under lock and key and not visible from any street.

Failed: 8. Medical marijuana may be sold in smokable form, but the same restrictions on public consumption of tobacco will be applied to marijuana.

9. All transporters of medical marijuana must have a transport license.

10. Per state statutory requirements, all growers, processors and dispensaries must register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs as due to the fact that marijuana is a ‘controlled dangerous substance’ under the law.

*11. All dispensaries will be required to have a Dispensary Manager who will dispense medical marijuana, advise patients, track inventory, and ensure the dispensing of medical marijuana complies with the applicable rules.

*12. Individuals/entities may own/operate a dispensary, processor, and growing operation.  They are not restricted to one establishment.

*13. Listed requirements for dispensers, processors, and growers when advertising medical marijuana.

*14. Listed requirements for Inventory control/tracking of medical marijuana for all dispensaries, processors, and growers.

*15. Listed requirements and guidelines for the processing of medical marijuana both by the licensed processor, as well as the patient who chooses to process their own marijuana.

*16. Medical marijuana grown by a commercial grower can only be grown indoors.

17. Stringent testing requirements for all processed marijuana and medical marijuana products.

18. Stringent labeling requirements for all medical marijuana products sold at a dispensary.

19. A single serving of a medical marijuana product processed or dispensed shall not exceed ten (10) milligrams active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Medical marijuana products and Medical Marijuana Concentrate processed or dispensed shall have a THC content of not more than twelve percent (12%). Mature marijuana plants shall have a THC content of not more than twenty percent (20%).

20. Standards for the disposal of unused medical marijuana and medical marijuana waste.