Department of Health

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The former top lawyer for the state health department pleaded guilty to false harassment charges this week.

In 2018, Julie Ezell sent herself threatening emails posing as a medical marijuana advocate. The emails threatened retribution if the board of health imposed restrictive rules on medical marijuana. The board ended up passing the rules, but after public uproar later overturned them.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

An arrest in Roger Mills County ends with a drive into the sheriff department’s garage and a short walk through the jail’s heavy door. Sheriff Darren Atha and his deputies bring their prisoner inside, they search them, sit them down in a brown chair and start booking them.

The Roger Mills County Jail is roughly 20 miles from the state’s western border. It’s a small rural jail that holds up to 28 people and Sheriff Atha says it’s a safe place to be.

“We just really don’t operate a dungeon,” Atha said.

Flickr / Dank Depot

The grace period for medical marijuana and CBD businesses making or selling food products without a food license ends Friday, April 26.

Edibles like infused waters, brownies and candies are popular items at many medical marijuana and CBD businesses. The Oklahoma State Department of Health considers them all food products, and, under state law, anyone who makes or sells food has to get a license.

Trevor Brown / Oklahoma Watch

It wasn’t publicized locally, but within the past few years teams of health officials at two Oklahoma health facilities took rapid actions to contain the spread of a fungal “superbug” that federal officials have declared a serious global health threat.

Only one patient at each facility was infected, and both patients recovered. But the incidents reflect the growing alarm among health officials over the deadly, multidrug-resistant Candida auris, or C. auris, which can kill 30 percent to 60 percent of those infected.

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

 

Health

 

Flickr / Dank Depot

Oklahoma medical marijuana and CBD businesses may need an $850 dollar food license.

Foods infused with CBD or THC, like oils, candy or honey are popular choices at dispensaries. Now the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which runs the state’s medical marijuana program, is reminding businesses that sell or manufacture those products that they need a food license by late April, or risk fines.

ok.gov

Gov. Kevin Stitt stood before the Oklahoma legislature to deliver his first State of the State address Monday. He outlined key pieces of his executive budget for fiscal year 2020. The legislature will craft its own budget during the 2019 legislative session.

Executive Power

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the State Health Department passing rules for edible medical marijuana, Governor-elect Kevin Stitt might have to wait a while before moving into his new offices because of construction at the State Capitol and a southeast Oklahoma Democratic State Representative defects to the Republican Party.

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU

Nurses and aides sit on couches and armchairs usually reserved for movie night. The workers recoil as pictures of severe plaque, tooth decay and bleeding sores are projected on the wall of the nursing center in Meeker.

Dental hygienist Shelley Mitchell says this is what happens when nursing home residents don’t get their teeth brushed.

“A lot of the residents I saw this morning, I saw a lot of plaque, I saw a lot of plaque, and I saw a lot of missing teeth,” she said.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about State Question 800 to create a dedicated account for excessive gross production taxes, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association plans to sue the State Department of Health over layoffs last year following a budget shortfall and Republican candidate Kevin Stitt gets an endorsement from his runoff rival Mick Cornett while Democratic candidate Drew Edmondson gets an endorsement from the Oklahoma Education Association.

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