A legislative working group has made good progress in its work to develop recommendations for the implementation of medical marijuana, said the Senate President Pro Tempore-designate and Oklahoma House Speaker.
Senate President Pro Tempore-designate Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall appointed bipartisan members from their respective chambers to work on permanent recommendations for the implementation of medical marijuana following the passage of State Question 788.
So far, the group has held six public meetings and heard from a variety of stakeholders, including medical marijuana advocates and activists, members of the law enforcement community, the medical community and members of the public.
“The working group is doing exactly what we expected of it and that is bring in a variety of experts and stakeholders in order to help the panel develop a robust set of permanent recommendations for the implementation of medical marijuana,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “The progress so far has been good, but there is still more work to be done in the coming weeks. Important issues like testing have yet to be covered in depth, but will be soon in upcoming meetings. At the end of the day, we want to ensure the successful and safe implementation of a medical marijuana system in accordance with the will of voters. The legislative working group is making steady progress toward that goal.”
"I have been following the working group closely, and I believe it is working well and as it was intended," said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. "The Legislature does not operate in a vacuum. We need engaged citizens and subject-matter experts to help us solve problems for Oklahomans, and I believe when the group completes its work our state will have a well-functioning marketplace as voters intended that meets the needs of both patients and providers."
For at least the next two meetings, the working group will focus on the testing standards and processes for medical marijuana, said Senator Greg McCortney, co-chair of the working group.
The working group plans to focus on the work of the state Department of Health, which looked at testing requirements during its development of emergency rules, and a testing proposal put forward by a group of advocates that includes New Health Solutions Oklahoma. Additionally, the working group plans to bring in experts from outside Oklahoma to address the topic.
“So far, we’ve only briefly talked about testing requirements, but it’s a very important topic. It’s important to have objective analysis as we look at setting up testing requirements in Oklahoma. If our system is to be successful and safe, we have to ensure testing standards are more than sufficient to protect patients and ensure they are accessing safe medicine,” said McCortney, R-Ada.
"I am very pleased with the efforts of the members of the working group to this point, and I am thankful for all the presenters who have taken the time to voice their support, expertise and even their concerns," said Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, co-chair of the working group. "I am also very excited to be at a point where we can discuss possible language for regulation."
The legislative working group on medical marijuana implementation meets at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays at the Oklahoma Capitol. A live stream of the meetings is available here. The working group is accepting public comment via e-mail submission at email@example.com.