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Two Groups Sue Oklahoma Over Last-Minute Marijuana Regulations

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma
Under State Question 788, medical marijuana patients will be able to grow a small number of marijuana plants at their home.

Two groups of Oklahomans have filed lawsuits to block last-minute additions to the state’s first-ever medical marijuana rules.

Marijuana advocacy group Green the Vote’s lawsuit filed in Oklahoma County against Gov. Mary Fallin and five board of health members accuses the members of holding a secret meeting before they voted earlier this week to approve amendments banning sales of smokable marijuana and requiring dispensaries to hire a pharmacist.

The group’s attorney Ronald Durbin said the alleged meeting violated Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act.

“We believe we have evidence that there were behind the scenes negotiations and discussions among certain members that we’ve named in this lawsuit to bring forth the amendments that essentially destroy the intent of 788,” Durbin said at a press conference Friday.

No public comment was taken on the amendments since they weren’t part of the draft rules submitted by Oklahoma State Department of Health staff to the board for consideration. The amendments mirror recommendations outlined at a press conference earlier this week by health leaders and medical associations, including the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy.

separate case against the state health department filed by eight people in Cleveland County, claims the board overstepped the rule-making authority it was given by voters when they approved State Question 788 in June.

A spokesperson for the state department of health declined to comment.

Jackie Fortiér worked for StateImpact Oklahoma from November 2017 to January 2020, reporting on a variety of topics and heading up its health reporting initiative. She has many journalism awards to her name during her years of multi-media reporting in Colorado, and was part of a team recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with a Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in breaking news reporting in 2013.
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