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Fallin Says She Doesn't Regret Not Calling Medical Marijuana Special Session

Serge Melki

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin maintains not calling state lawmakers into a special session on medical marijuana was the right move.

"It’s a complicated issue. It’s not something you could resolve in 30, 60 days like the health department’s had to deal with, and it’s not something that you want to throw legislators into, especially in a very actively charged political season," Fallin said.

Patient and industry groups called for a special session.

Fallin signed an amended version of regulations the State Department of Health started writing ahead of the vote, but those rules were challenged in court and recently replaced.

The state had 60 days to fully implement State Question 788 after voters approved it in June, with some provisions needing to be in place after 30 days. Fallin said lawmakers could not have put regulations in place that quickly with a new medical marijuana issue coming up seemingly every day.

"Whether it’s a worker getting hurt on the job that has a medical marijuana license to a nursing home that called me and said, ‘What do I do if I have an elderly patient that wants to grow marijuana in the room and wants to smoke it in front of other people?'" Fallin said.

Fallin said she expects the Medical Marijuana Working Group's work will lead to further regulation.

"You need to be thoughtful, careful, do your homework, study it, make sure you discuss and listen to all people that are involved in it, and then I think they should go back into session, which they will in February, and have the different things that they’ve come up with and different recommendations and hopefully pass some type of legislation that will give it a better structure than what it has," Fallin said.

Lawmakers declined to pass medical marijuana legislation during the regular session that adjourned in May.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.