The Oklahoma Board of Health passed a new set of additional emergency rules, on Tuesday. This, in spite of A.G. Mike Hunter's advisory that they have exceeded and continue to exceed the authority of an agency to create temporary emergency rules, which have the force of statutory law, even though they are not democratically created by the legislature & governor.
The Food Safety Board (a statutory oversight board specifically created by the text of SQ788) presented their proposed emergency rules to address the standards that products must comply with.
Media reports published that "Hunter said he believed many of the working group’s recommendations still 'appear to exceed the bounds' of the health board’s power because they don’t have a direct relationship to existing food safety or preparation standards."
Yet many trusted leaders in the medical cannabis industry are seeing this added set of emergency rules as quite reasonable & workable. While the process of getting these rules may not be optimal, the outcome may be better for everyone, and instill a confidence for consumers to trust the medicine.
Beyond the immediate concern for the actual rules of the Health Dept., many Cannabis Industry advocates are expressing relief that the AG's office is truly exercising a prudent concern for constitutional order in how laws are made and enforced. The Health Dept. was clearly and arrogantly creating laws on their own, and clearly there is evidence of corruption both in the Dept. of Health and in other state associations who heavily influenced the Health Dept during the summer.
State Representative Scott Fetgatter of Okmulgee was a member of the Legislative working group which spent 3 months studying the unfolding situation. Fetgatter expects the legislature to immediately address medical marijuana laws in February. The legislature has a certain urgency because the Health Dept.'s rules will constitutionally expire later this summer. They must be replaced with statutory language in order for the state to have any role in determining who is a legitimate patient and what proper management will look like. Rep Jon Echols & Senator Greg McCortney co-chaired the interim study and are likely to be coordinating the formation of statutory laws to replace the emergency rules.
Another development which will occur in the weeks ahead will be the reforms of the Dept. of Health, itself. A law passed last year will strip the Board of Health of their oversight of the Health Dept. Director. Instead, there will be an appointed "Commissioner of Health" who will have the sole authority to make agency rules in matters like this.
Tom Bates is referred to as the "Interim Commissioner". If Gov. Elect Kevin Stitt nominates him for that permanent role, his impact will be massive.
It is clear from this video of his testimony before a joint study of the legislature, that Bates has little respect for the language of SQ788. He clearly believes that the medicine should have much stricter controls.
Yet medical science clearly shows that liquor & tobacco are far more dangerous than cannabis, and in fact deadly, in ways that cannabis never would be.