The bill clarifies regulations and patient protections
Oklahoma voters last June approved a measure to allow cannabis use, cultivation and dispensing in the state. Now, Governor Ken Stitt has signed a bill that helps to clarify how the industry will be regulated and which offers protection to patients seeking medical relief through the plant.
The bill, House Bill (HB) 2612, authorizes the creation of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which will oversee the industry. It will be part of the State Department of Health and will establish a registry of qualified patients and caregivers, as well as a revolving fund used to address cannabis oversight issues.
HB 2612 also gives more protections to cannabis patients. It states that registered consumers cannot be denied public assistance, employment or access to firearms based solely on the fact that they consumer marijuana and also stipulates, “No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites.”
The legislation also hopes to create standards for banks who want to work with medical cannabis businesses. It also prevents local governments from enacting “guidelines which restrict or interfere with the rights of a licensed patient or caregiver to possess, purchase, cultivate or transport medical marijuana.”
The bill received overwhelming support in both chambers before heading to the governor’s desk. The House voted for it 93-5 and the Senate voted 43-5. Approximately 55,000 residents in the state are registered for medical marijuana use and HB 2612 will go a long way to ensuring that they are not marginalized because of their consumption.