"If we don't correct the health dept. rules, the voters will pass recreational usage." - Jon Echols
House Majority Floor Leader, Jon Echols, said on Monday that he expects a bipartisan bicameral Medical Marijuana Interim study group to be announced this Wednesday. He added that this is the Speaker's call, but he expects to play a significant role in this effort, himself. Along with Echols, some other House members he mentioned were Rep. Scott Fetgatter(R-Okmulgee), Rep. Mickey Dollens(D-OKC), Rep Colin Walke(D-OKC).
The study is not expected to begin meeting until late August, just after the run-off elections. The meetings will be quite open and several groups are expressing interest in addressing their concerns for following the expressed & implied will of the voters who passed the measure on a 14% margin.
Echols added that he hopes that the work of this group will result in a strong bipartisan set of regulatory frameworks which are true to the voters' intent and still address sensible safeguard issues.
Echols called the Board of Health's attempts to pass stealth regulations without public feedback; "Boneheaded". It is his hope that a clear bill can be waiting for a call to a very narrow and short special session which simply gives both chambers a simple floor vote and adjournment after the governor completes enactment.
Echols went on to say that if the legislature can create a clear and sensible fix, then the voters will likely vote down the Recreational State Question (797) which appears to be headed for a November ballot slot.
But if the legislature leaves the voters still frustrated with their government's handling of SQ788, then Full Recreational Marijuana will pass. And that passage may have serious 'coattails' in the elections.
Echols made his comments to an OKC radio station. Senate Pro Tem-designate, Greg Treat, has not yet commented on the senate appointments to the interim study.