Oklahoma Health Board Passes Revised Medical Marijuana Rules, Including Ban on Smokable Forms

Jul 10, 2018

Credit Laurie Avocado

The Oklahoma State Board of Health approved rules for medical marijuana on Tuesday, making one big change.

On a 5–4 vote, members passed an amendment making pills, oils, topical creams, tinctures and liquids the only forms medical marijuana may be dispensed in. In other words, no smoking it; the rules specifically prohibit dispensing marijuana in flower, dry leaf or plant form.

Board member Charles Skillings suggested the change.

"I don’t think we’re protecting the public that doesn’t smoke. In fact, I think we’re imposing a hazard on them," Skillings said.

ACLU Oklahoma said that change "guarantees litigation."

The health board also changed the definition of dispensary manager to require a pharmacist hold that job.

"It is a problem to have Schedule I drugs being recommended, prescribed by a doctor … and not be filled, then, by a pharmacist, who is an expert on chemicals and medication and interactions," said board member Dr. Murali Krishna. "And many of the marijuana products have a number of interactions with a number of medications, like, common medications. Fluvoxamine — significant level changes happen in some of the medications."

Those tweaks were favored by the Oklahoma State Medical Association and go beyond changes the Oklahoma State Department of Health made in response to public comments.

General counsel Julie Ezell said the health department made a couple changes in the past week. Those include requirements for inventory tracking, testing for pesticides and other toxins, and how marijuana should be processed.

"Doing our research, there are some methods that are inherently dangerous and just good kind of guidelines to put in place for how you extract and process medical marijuana," Ezell said.

The health department will also submit a list of policy gaps to state lawmakers to address next session.