OKLAHOMA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM
The state of Oklahoma is planning to restrict their Medical Marijuana Program. The people of Oklahoma are expected to vote to approve a Medical Marijuana Program by June 2018.
Once again a state designates its Department of Health to make the decisions concerning medical marijuana. For example, in Florida the Department of Health is in charge of deciding and regulating the medical marijuana program. Oklahoma’s Senate proposed Bill 1120. This Bill enables the Department of Health to set the price of each dose a patient can buy.
On Monday February 26, 2018, the Bill 1120 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The Bill passed with 6 votes in favor and 5 in opposition.
The proposed Bill has generated an abundant amount controversy, particularly the language of the bill that expresses the penalties for doctors that recommend Medical Marijuana. If this bill passes only certain patients with the enumerated ailments will be able to access their medicine. The allowed ailments are neuropathic pain, persistent muscle spasms, nausea or vomiting due to chemotherapy or loss of weight and appetite due to cancer, HIV or AIDS. The spirit of the state’s amendment was to have the doctor decide which patient needs Medical Marijuana as medicine.
Similar to Florida’s MMJ program, the proposed program in Oklahoma intends to significantly limit the number of licenses by limiting the number or growers and dispensaries.
We will have to wait and see what happens in June. Based on our experience in the Florida market we can foresee the Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program will be extremely restricted. Having a restricted market directly affects the patients, who need immediate access to relief. The problem we keep encounter is the stigma around “marijuana.” It is not disputed that cannabis in all of its forms, marijuana and hemp, has a numerous medical benefits. By limiting the access to this medicine, the opioid crisis will not diminish. Statistically, states with comprehensive regulatory programs decrease their opioid abuse. As such, it’s obvious the world is looking for access to safer medicine!
Rolando Vazquez, Esq.