Legislation To Reform Medical Marijuana Program In Oklahoma Fails To Passmayo 26, 2020
An effort to reform Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program—including adding a provision allowing cannabis deliveries to patients—has apparently gone up in smoke.
The Tulsa World reported that state lawmakers decided on Friday not to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto of the legislation that had overwhelming bipartisan support in both legislative chambers.
The bill, brought by state House Rep. Jon Echols, “would have allowed medical cannabis patients to receive deliveries from dispensaries within a 10-mile radius or—for rural residents—a dispensary in their county,” while also barring “the Oklahoma State Department of Health from sharing patient and caregiver records with other state agencies or political subdivisions, including law enforcement, without a court order” and permitting “dispensaries to stay in the same location if a school is built within 1,000 feet after it opens,” the Tulsa World reported.
But Stitt vetoed the measure, which had easily passed the Oklahoma Senate and the House, and legislative leaders ultimately balked at trying to override the governor—despite Echols’ apparent confidence that he could muster the votes in his chamber.
Oklahoma’s Medical Cannabis Space During COVID-19
Dispensaries in Oklahoma have been permitted to conduct curbside pickup during the COVID-19 outbreak, though—unlike in other states—deliveries have not been allowed.
The pandemic has not slowed down the state’s medical marijuana industry, however, with officials reporting that sales for medical cannabis last month hit another new record. In April, dispensaries remitted $9.8 million in state taxes, breaking the previous record set a month earlier in March.
“With the stay-home order in place, and medical marijuana dispensaries being categorized as essential health services, Oklahoma patients were afforded the ability to take their medicine on a more regular basis and sample a broader range of available medicines,” Bud Scott, executive director of the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Association, told the Oklahoman.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) reported last summer that it had approved nearly 150,000 licenses for patients to receive medical cannabis, placing it near the top among the 33 states in the country that have legalized medical cannabis.
That number vastly exceeded what state officials expected for the first year of enrollment. After the measure passed on the ballot in 2018, officials said they anticipated roughly 80,000 patients enrolling in the opening year.