Nearly 8 months after the Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly passed a medical marijuana initiative petition, the legislature is now reviewing the language of a bill which would bring more clarity to the new law.
Rep. Jon Echols (R-OKC) filed a committee substitute to his previously filed 'shell bill', HB2612. The substance of the bill is the product of unanimous support from the Bicameral Interim Study Group on Medical Marijuana. The group convened last July when the Oklahoma Department of Health inforced several egregious emergency rules which violate the constitutional limits of their authority.
The District Attorneys are still investigating bribery allegations and other frauds committed by the Health Dept. and other agencies, who were trying to hamper or destroy the law which the voters enacted constitutionally.
A coalition of patient groups, business associations, and civil rights advocates worked with the Interim study group to bring clarity to the very loosely-written law.
From that document, Interim Study co-chair, Jon Echols, further honed the document and last Wednesday the group added about 20 other amendments before unanimously recommending the legislation to the legislature.
The senate action may not be so quick, but if it does receive approval and the signature of the governor, it's emergency clause will allow it to take effect immediately.
The bill only ignores one key sticking point. While voters clearly understood the law enacting a 7% sales tax, The Oklahoma Tax Commission decided to treat the language as an excise tax of 7%. And since it is deemed taxable, they also ruled that a full state & local sales tax should be applied. The net result is a tax on sales totalling nearly 16% for a medication. This makes it the only medication which needs a physician authorization and yet has any tax imposed at all.