Medical Marijuana Advocates Push Lawmakers To Override Gov. Stitt's Veto

Tuesday, May 26th 2020, 10:13 pm
By: Erick Payne

Medical marijuana advocates are pushing for legislators to override a veto from Governor Stitt.

House Bill 3228 was designed to fix medical marijuana programs that were passed last year.

The bill passed largely with bipartisan support from each chamber, but Governor Kevin Stitt vetoed it.

Some attorneys say this veto could have a drastic impact on marijuana businesses.

Now, he's trying to rally state legislators to override the governor’s veto.

Attorney Ron Durbin specializes in the medical marijuana industry. He says HB 3228 would have amended HB 2612, which passed last year.

"This bill has very fundamental and important things, not only for the industry but also requests that OMMA has made," Durbin said.

The 104-page bill would change rules about certificates of compliance for dispensaries.

It would give permission for businesses to deliver within a 10-mile radius of their location.

It would allow existing dispensaries to stay open if they later fall within 1,000 yards of a school.

And, it would give the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Association more authority in some cases.

"There are tons of hugely important things that fix problems. It's not like this bill doesn't know what the problems are. We know what the issues are, and this bill was designed to solve a lot of those," Durbin said.

In his veto statement, Governor Stitt says it's a lengthy bill, and makes substantial policy changes, that were not fully scrutinized through normal legislative procedures.

He said, "while there is much room for improvement in the way our state's program operates, this bill does not address those items in a way I can support."

Many dispensary owners are asking their legislators to act.

One owner in Ada says they sent their state senator an email, saying "many business licenses will be directly affected without the language clarification that 2612 does not cover."

She said, "I believe this is one of those cases that should qualify for the override."

The governor's office referred me to the original veto statement today.

Senate leaders would need 32 'yes' votes to override the governor’s veto. Durbin says he believes 24 are on board right now.