Oklahoma's Interim Health Commissioner, Tom Bates has steadfastly refused any and all meetings with patients and medical providers concerned about the unworkable new health dept rules on medical marijuana.
So on Thursday afternoon, a group of attorneys representing dispensary operators and hundreds of patients, organized a 'polite protest' outside the state headquarters of the Health Dept. Their request was simply a meeting to discuss a pathway toward implementation of workable reforms of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. The building security staff refused to even grant the attorneys and patients any access to the names and agency contact information to set up such meetings.
The spokesman for the Oklahoma Dept of Health then refused to identify himself to the 150 visitors when they sought to journal the responses he was giving them while refusing them access to scheduling personnel for the OMMA Director, Adrienne Rollins.
Photo: Tom Bates (left) has struggled with multiple agency corruption narratives at the health dept.
Legislative Advocate, Chris Moe, speaks with Attorney Ron Durbin about the path forward in fighting the agencies conspiring to end the legal access to cannabis medicines.
Rumors were swirling earlier this week that Tom Bates was seeking a new appointment from Governor Kevin Stitt. He wants to be the new Director of the Govt. Transparency agency. Attorney Ron Durbin, who organized the Thursday protest, said; "The idea of Bates championing govt. transparency is absolutely laughable!". His legacy over the past year has been perhaps the worst performance of any agency head.
Patient advocate, Chris Moe, said that result of the Health Dept. behavior on Thursday is going to be a very aggressive and confrontational. Durbin added that several more lawsuits are going to be files in the weeks to come. Durbin & Moe emphasized that the Thursday gathering was meant to show a reasonable and polite initiative toward a constructive dialogue.
They now say that it is abundantly clear that the Health Dept. does not want cooperation. They want to suppress the new laws passed by the voters just last year when State Question 788 passed by a double digit margin in the June primary elections.
On Thursday, Gov. Stitt also (very coincidentally) named a new commissioner of the State Health Dept. Gary Cox of the county Health Dept. in Oklahoma County, is Stitt's pick. But Cox also avoided the campus of the state headquarters on Thursday afternoon. Rally organizers took to social media to formally welcome him to speak with them on the front lawn of the office complex. Those overtures were also ignored.
There will also be a new initiative petition to further decriminalize cannabis possession and an effort to remove the OMMA from the oversight of the State Health Dept. Several dispensary owners and patients are also demanding the prosecution of the former Director of the State Pharmacy Board, for the bribery efforts she's been identified with.
That effort may require a citizen petition for a grand jury, covering several govt. corruption matters that prosecutors are failing to act on. The Attorney General's office, itself, may become implicated in some narratives.
Patient Amy Brown said it this way; "A lot of bright shiny faces and plenty of CannaFamily in support of the patient and the agenda. Our goal was to request a public meeting with the Director. In response, Oklahoma state public officials refused to identify themselves and locked themselves inside behind glass doors while covering up their badges and refusing any access to public records or the ability to speak to any key decision maker. Lots of questions yet to be asked. Who is working for who here? It’s impossible to believe that anything good is being done in the interest of either the patient or the business owner on behalf of the OMMA."
Amy Brown is a patient needing better testing assurances. Billy Dunn is a parent of disabled kids. He needs the OMMA to fix contradictory rules which leave his kids without legal medicine.