Rep. John Paul Jordan has crafted a subtle maneuver to potentially undermine the initiative petition process of State Question 788. The ballot proposal for next June will allow the citizens of Oklahoma to address Cannabis medicines for Oklahomans under physicians' care. Until now, the legislature has refused to support the use of the whole Marijuana plant for Cannabis medicines.
The Dept. of Mental Health & substance Abuse has been busy devising ways to severely limit the effect of the June proposal. Even if passed into law, the new advancements in medical care may escape the reach of ordinary Oklahomans if the Jordan proposal of HB3468 are adopted into law.
The Jordan proposal would deliver to a new agency the power to regulate the Cannabis medicines out of reach and beyond the affordability of Oklahomans.
This proposal provides no directive or statutory mandates for the new agency. Yet it gives the unelected board the full powers to get between the patient and doctor.
This tactic is often done when lawmakers want to 'wash their hands' of the responsibility to the people, even while they devise the subversion of the peoples' collective will. Case in point: the rules for picking the board members require that the most anti-Cannabis agencies in the state will each have an appointed seat on the board. The Senate will not even have a role in confirming the initial nominees.
An agency like this ought to recommend policy to the legislature, but not assume unaccountable powers to make up laws in the name of 'regulatory oversight'.
A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 10021 of Title 74, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
A. Upon certification of election returns favoring passage of State Question No. 788, Initiative Petition No. 412, there is hereby created the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission.
B. The Oklahoma Cannabis Commission shall address issues related to the medical marijuana program in Oklahoma including, but not limited to, operations relating to the issuance of licenses, the dispensing, cultivating, processing, transporting and sale of medical marijuana in Oklahoma and any issues the Commission finds relevant as it relates to the medical marijuana program.
C. The Oklahoma Cannabis Commission shall be initially developed by the State Department of Health but shall become its own agency with rights and responsibilities similar to all other state agencies and commissions:
- 1. On or before July 1, 2019; or
- 2. If at any time the federal government takes control of the State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission shall immediately become a separate state agency.
E. The Oklahoma Cannabis Commission shall adopt regulations regarding the administration of medical marijuana not later than one hundred twenty (120) days after the effective date of this act.
F. The Oklahoma Cannabis Commission shall exercise its respective powers and perform its respective duties and functions as specified in this section as well as Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
SECTION 2. NEW LAW
A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 10022 of Title 74, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
A. Upon certification of election returns favoring passage of State Question No. 788, Initiative Petition No. 412, there is hereby created the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission Governing Board, within the Oklahoma Department of Health, until the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission becomes its own agency.
B. The Oklahoma Cannabis Commission Governing Board shall consist of twelve (12) voting members all of whom shall be citizens of the United States and residents of the State of Oklahoma for the past five (5) years.
C. All members of the Board shall be appointed by the Governor, and with the exception of the initial seven members, shall be confirmed by the Oklahoma State Senate.
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Commissioner of the State Department of Health and shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine in Oklahoma for not less than five (5) years;
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine in Oklahoma for not less than five years;
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Attorney General and shall be an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Oklahoma for not less than five (5) years;
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and shall have at least five (5) years of experience in investigations;
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Commissioner of Public Safety and shall be a certified peace officer with at least five (5) years of law enforcement experience and has been certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training;
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Commissioner of the Oklahoma State Banking Department and shall be a certified public accountant or public accountant who has been practicing in Oklahoma for at least five (5) years and has a comprehensive knowledge of the principles and practices of corporate finance; and
- One member of the Board shall be proposed by the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and shall have been engaged in business in a management-level capacity for at least five (5) years.
Some medical Cannabis supporters are more optimistic about the Jordan bill. But given the makeup of the oversight agency, it's a 'who's who' of the current agencies trying to stop the movement. Unless their authority is limited to advisory and limited regulatory authority, they would have the opportunity to kill the practical effect of the reforms enacted by the voters. Norma Sapp has been working on this reform for many years and she believes this development could end up very positive.