Oklahoma State Department of Health Names Twelve Member Medical Marijuana Food Safety Standards Board

OKLAHOMA: As required by SQ788, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has appointed all 12 Oklahoma residents to the Medical Marijuana Food Safety Standards Board. Those members will provide recommendations for food safety standards for processing and handling medical marijuana.

The members include a number of representatives from state, county and tribal government, the scientific community, marijuana industry experts, and patient advocates. They will be tasked to create the food safety standards by the prescribed deadlines outlined in SQ788. These standards will be adopted by the agency and enforced by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) for medical marijuana processors.

“We tried to identify people with expertise in food handling and inspection, science and patient advocacy,” said OSDH Interim Commissioner Tom Bates. “To make sure we had a variety of different voices at the table, we took a multi-disciplinary approach in the selection process.”

 Members selected include:

  • Becky Johnson, Pharmacist
  • Dr. Ravirajsinh Jadeja, Asst. Professor of Food Safety, Oklahoma State University
  • Scott Yates, Supervisor of Meat and Poultry Inspection, Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
  • Scott Schaeffer, Managing Director, Oklahoma Poison Control
  • Fenton Rood, Asst. Director of Land Protection, Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality
  • Mark Woodward, Public Information/Education Officer and Legislative Liaison, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs
  • Bud Scott, Executive Director, New Health Solutions Oklahoma
  • Ray Jennings, Patient Advocate
  • Kara Burst, Executive Officer, Business Sustainability and Auxiliary Services, Department of Commerce, Chickasaw Nation
  • Dr. Edd Rhoades, Medical Director, Oklahoma State Department of Health
  • Troy Skow, Consumer Protection Administrator, OKC-County Health Department
  • Travis Splawn, Field Supervisor, Tulsa Health Department

Informational forms are currently online at OMMA.ok.gov and have been updated to reflect revised emergency rules approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Health and Governor Fallin. Any forms previously completed will be accepted when applications for all medical marijuana licenses can be submitted online on August 25.

Marijuana Legalization Could Come To These 12 States This Year

By Eric Weisbrot

Despite strong efforts to maintain the criminalization of marijuana use in the United States, many individuals and lawmakers have taken a step in the direction of legalization over the last several years. Currently, there are 29 states that allow for medical marijuana use, under particular limitations, and a smaller percentage that give residents the ability to use marijuana on a recreational basis under state law. The federal government has been slow to end prohibition of the drug, but recent research shows growing support for legalization on a state level for many reasons.

One of the strongest components of marijuana legalization support revolves around the well-documented success of states that have eliminated prohibition for residents. The states that allow for recreational use of marijuana have systems in place to ensure the tax revenue and economic growth is regulated, mostly through the use of bonding and licensing requirements for dispensaries, growers, and distributors. Based on the positive outcomes legalized states have generated, there are 12 more states considering legalizing marijuana use on some level in 2018.

Michigan: In the state of Michigan, there is a current initiative to gather the 250,000 signatures needed to include a marijuana legalization bill on the ballot in the 2018 election cycle. If approved, the bill would allow for recreational use of the drug for those over the age of 21 who are also residents of the state.

Delaware: In late 2017, a legislative task force was formed in order to analyze the impact marijuana use has on state residents from a recreational standpoint. A bill was shot down in 2017, but the hope is that an opportunity remains in 2018 after the findings of the task force are made public.

New Jersey: With a Democratic-led legislature, New Jersey is poised to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in 2018. A skyrocketing criminal justice cost along with proven racial injustices in the state are the prime motivators behind passing such legislation this year.

Vermont: A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana was approved in Vermont in May 2017, but it was vetoed by the governor at the time. A commission tasked with studying the issues surrounding recreational marijuana use, including health concerns and driving impairment statistics, was created at that time. Based on the results of the commission’s work, legislation is set to pass in Vermont in 2018 allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of two mature plants.

Oklahoma: During either the June or November elections, Oklahoma is set to add a bill to the ballot for medical marijuana use legalization for state residents.

Ohio: Lawmakers in Ohio failed to get a bill passed to legalize recreational marijuana use in the last three years, but a ballot proposal is intended to be included during the midterm election cycle this year.

Connecticut: Thanks to local efforts from lawmakers in Harford, Connecticut legislature is set to include a statewide ballot vote for recreational marijuana legalization in November 2018.

Rhode Island: After forming a legislative commission in 2017, Rhode Island may be one of the next states to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2018. The commission sought to research the impacts of the drug on its community, based on neighboring studies in Massachusetts and Maine.

Kentucky: A bill for the legalization of medical marijuana may be on the docket in 2018 for residents of Kentucky. Although there is little support from the current governor, advocates for the drug’s medical use may beat the odds during the midterm election cycle.

Utah: Medical marijuana may be legalized in Utah, following in the footsteps of several other states nearby. The ballot for the midterm elections should include a bill for Utah voters to weigh in on in 2018.

South Dakota: South Dakota may also be close to legalizing medical marijuana, as signatures are currently being gathered for a ballot initiative slated for 2018 election inclusion.

Missouri: Similar to South Dakota, signatures are currently being collected for a medical marijuana bill in Missouri which would allow voters to make the decision in this election cycle.


Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.  

Oklahoma Becomes 31st State To Legalize Medical Marijuana Access

OKLAHOMA: A majority of Oklahomans voted on Tuesday to enact State Question 788 – a statewide voter-initiated measure that permits doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to patients who may benefit from it. Oklahoma is the 31st state to legalize and regulate the use of medical cannabis under state law.

State Question 788 permits licensed medical marijuana patients to cultivate up to six mature plants and to possess personal use quantities of marijuana flowers, edibles, or infused concentrates. It also establishes a regulatory framework for the retail production and dispensing of medical cannabis at licensed facilities. Under the act, the state Department of Health has a 30-day timeline in which to establish an online license application process for eligible patients.

Oklahoma voters endorsed the plan despite organized opposition from law enforcement, political leaders, and other groups. Opponents of the measure spent an estimated $500,000 in the final week of the campaign on an advertising blitz that falsely claimed that “SQ 788 was not about medical marijuana,” a mischaracterization that was previously determined to be purposely misleading by the state Supreme Court.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who publicly opposed SQ 788, said that she intends to call lawmakers back for a special session to address the law’s implementation and to consider changes to some of its provisions.

Under existing Oklahoma laws, the possession of any amount of cannabis is classified as a criminal offense – punishable by up to a year in prison. Engaging in cannabis cultivation or sales may be punishable by up to life in prison. According to a study released earlier this month, Oklahoma’s incarceration rate is 1,079 per 100,000 people – the highest rate in the United States.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

DJ Snoopadelic and Kokane Headline Oklahoma Hempfest September 7-9th

NEW DATES. OKLAHOMA HEMPFEST RESCHEDULED:  Oklahoma Hempfest Rescheduled; New Dates June 7, 8 & 9th 2019

By Scott McKinley

Who could imagine Oklahoma going for Medical Cannabis?  After the state just claimed the crown for most incarcerations,  the people have truly spoken with this one.

Being an 8-year member of Seattle Hempfest, I know the power of a “Protestival” done right. This will be my third year of sponsoring a stage in Seattle and networking with all the entrepreneurs to make the 3-day event happen, and so naturally I decided it would be a perfect timing idea to bring the official Hempfest to my home state of Oklahoma.  With the teachers all at strike and a good portion of the proceeds going to them, I banked on state question 788 to pass.

I flew in to my home state of Oklahoma to meet with the group who created Rocklahoma to begin the planning. For public and political support, we flew in Seattle City A Attorney Pete Holmes,  Seattle Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak, Patrick Saint from the Twenty22 Many Foundation, and Ashley Heddy the head of traceability training from BiotrackTHC.

We had a panel set up by Senator and gubernatorial candidate Connie Johnson.   We toured the venue Lost Lakes, and fell in love with the layout. It’s the perfect place.  I put all the pieces together and presented the idea.  Along the way, I had many partners and friends say I was wasting my time because Oklahoma would never legalize.  I reached out to Snoop Dogg’s camp, as I had worked with him in the past, and he had the dates — September 7-9 — open.

All the pieces have come together.  We lined up the investors, the venue, the state, and the artists —  all while awaiting the vote.  So you asked for it, Oklahoma, and you will get it:  the first annual Oklahoma Hempfest headlined by DJ Snoopadelic, and the Legendary Kokane — the most featured artist in the world. — with 3 days and 4 stages of artists and speakers.  In the tradition of Seattle Hempfest, this will be a free to the public event and will have speakers in between each artist performing on all stages.  Stay tuned for more details!

Oklahoma Gov. Fallin: No Special Legislative Session To Implement State Question 788

OKLAHOMA: Governor Mary Fallin issued the following statement on how the state will proceed with developing rules and regulations to deal with implementing State Question 788, the medical marijuana ballot issue approved by Oklahoma voters earlier this week:

“After conferring with House and Senate leaders, we believe a special legislative session is not necessary to implement provisions of State Question 788. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has developed emergency rules that will ensure the health and safety of Oklahomans as well as being fair and balanced for the marijuana industry. The Health Department has been working with other agencies the past several months to develop a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical reasons. The voters have spoken, and it’s important that our state has a responsible system up and running to meet the deadlines outlined in State Question 788. If circumstances develop that adjustments to the Health Department rules are necessary, those can be addressed when lawmakers return in regular session early next year.”

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has worked for the past three months to develop a framework for implementing the requirements of SQ 788. Now that Oklahoma voters have approved the measure, OSDH is prepared to meet those requirements by the specified time, and that the process will be handled with integrity. The proposed emergency rules are available online for review and comment. Should individuals or entities wish to submit comments to these draft emergency rules, they must be submitted in writing via e-mail on or before July 3. Proposed emergency rules will be presented to the Oklahoma State Board of Health for its consideration on July 10.

More information may be found here.

Three More States Enact Hemp Production Laws

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Governors in Alaska, Kansas, and Oklahoma have each signed legislation in recent days establishing programs to permit the cultivation of industrial hemp.

In Alaska, Independent Gov. Bill Walker signed legislation into law establishing a pilot program “to study the growth, cultivation, [and] marketing of industrial hemp.” Senate Bill 6 creates a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana under state law and seeks to develop and promote a hemp industry within the state. The law also excludes oils containing cannabidiol from the legal definition of hashish oil.

In Kansas, Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer signed Senate Bill 263: The Alternative Crop Research Act. It excludes industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the state’s criminal codes, and it permitsthe Department of Agriculture to license farmers to “cultivate industrial hemp and [to] promote the research and development of industrial hemp.”

In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2913, which creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. The program permits university-affiliated licensees to cultivate hemp for “plant research” and “marketing development purposes.”

All three new state laws are compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 federal Farm Bill, which permits states to legally authorize hemp cultivation as part of academic research pilot programs. Over 35 states have established regulations permitting limited hemp cultivation under this provision.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Oklahoma Group To Petition For Legalization Of Medical Marijuana

OKLAHOMA: A group for the legalization of medical marijuana is starting a petition in October in hopes of putting it on the ballot for Oklahoma voters.

“Green the Vote” is a movement that started in Tulsa this year, and has now expanded to followers in Lawton and Oklahoma City. The organization plans to circulate a petition for the use of medical marijuana as prescribed by a board certified physician.

The group needs 123,000 signatures to get the “state question” on the November 2016 ballot. Supporters say it is a daunting task, but one they are confident they can achieve.

“People are still scared. People are scared to come out of the cannabis closet, but they want to,” said Lawton Chapter Coordinator Georgia Wood.

Oklahomans Rally For Medical Marijuana Initiative

OKLAHOMA: Oklahomans pushing for a stronger medical marijuana initiative rallied at the State Capitol on Saturday.

Organizers said although they made some strides in the past year, it’s still not enough for patients who they said really need help.

All smiles now, little Jaqie Warrior looks like any happy two-year-old. But it hasn’t always been this way.

“She can hold her head up she can hold things now she had lost all of her development, my baby was on the brink of death every day,” said Brittany Hardy Warrior.

 

Oklahoma: Marijuana Smugglers Will Go Free Because Private Company Helped Arrest Them

OKLAHOMA:  A Caddo County, Oklahoma judge last year dismissed 30 drug cases in a single day because employees of a private company helped arrest the defendants. Now, attorneys say more cases in other counties are likely tainted due to their involvement.

Employees of a company called Desert Snow were helping make drug busts until a judge put a stop to the practice, reports Abby Broyles at KFOR News Channel 4. A couple of years ago, District Attorney Jason Hicks made the monumentally bone-headed move of hiring Desert Snow employees to help train officers make drug stops along I-40, well known among drug enforcement types as a “drug corridor.”

But Desert Snow employees were doing more than just training. They were doing actual police work, including arresting people, on the stops, and making money while doing it.

Fallin Signs Bill Legalizing Marijuana Oil For Medical Purposes

OKLAHOMA:  Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill authorizing a medical pilot program allowing the medically supervised use of cannabidiol (CBD), a low THC non-intoxicating derivative of marijuana.

Reports from some families indicate CBD may be used to effectively treat children who suffer from epileptic seizures and help reduce the number and intensity of those seizures.

 HB 2154 was authored by Rep. Jon Echols and Sen. Brian Crain. The bill is known as “Katie and Cayman’s Law,” named after a young relative of Echols and a family-friend of Crain, both of whom suffer from seizures.

“This bill will help get sick children potentially life-changing medicine,” said Fallin. “By crafting the legislation in a way that allows for tightly controlled medical studies, we can ensure we are researching possible treatments in a responsible and scientific way.”