House Majority Floor Leader, Jon Echols, has begin the effort to get a month's worth of interim study consensus converted into a single piece of legislation regarding the state's newest statutes legalizing a physician's right to treat patients with cannabis medicines.
When the voters of Oklahoma overwhelmingly passed SQ788, they fully intended the medicine to be available to any Oklahoman whose health would benefit from the old medicines derived from the Marijuana (Cannabis) plants.
Some lawmakers wanted to either override the vote of the people or strictly curtail the implementation to whatever the particular politician felt comfortable with.
Rep. Mike Ritze was one such politician. But he and several others were voted out of office. Senator Ervin Yen was even more assertive. He too, was voted out of office.
The bicameral interim study that Echols and Senator Greg McCortney have cochaired, seeks to address the issues which will help the first months of the new law be a smoother and more orderly process. But it's always easier to have order when you just say; "No!" to everyone. And suffering Oklahomans are already furious with the legislature for avoiding essential reforms such as SQ788.
"We've already had scares about (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) coming and taking guns, and we've had individuals who've expressed fear about having certain benefits denied," said attorney Rachel Bussett. "Medical cannabis should be treated in the same category as any other medication like opiates,". Bussett wants assurances in writing which prohibit agencies and law enforcement from penalizing the poor who grow cannabis to treat their diagnosed conditions. Food assistance, disability checks, even self defense rights can be at risk if the legislature doesn't clamp down on overzealous bureaucrats who try to do the bidding of the federal govt.
The CARE Act, The Medical Marijuana & Patient Protection Act, as well as clauses written by many of the legislators; are being melded into a living & evolving draft in the offices of the co-chairs of the bicameral interim study. there are many efforts to shorten the draft even while adding new stipulations.
There appears to be no more effort of legislators to play doctor and dictate to the medical professions about what health science is convinced of. That battle was settled when over 500,000 voters went to the polls and passed the statute without such language about a list of approved ailments.
"A lot of what was deleted was literally for saving space," said Bud Scott, a spokesman for one group called New Health Solutions Oklahoma. "There was a thought amongst the legislators that too much of a page count would be too imposing, especially in a special session."
If the language can be worked out over the next few days, there will follow an effort to inform and explain the language of the emergency bill. Then the governor will, and her discretion; decide if she will call the legislature into session. Otherwise it will take 2/3 of the members to override her decision and go ito session on their own agenda.