Oklahoma House Sends Medical Marijuana Unity Bill to Senate

Feb 28, 2019

Credit Laurie Avocado

A range of medical marijuana regulations known as the Unity Bill passed the Oklahoma House on Thursday.

House Bill 2612 passed 93–5. Representatives spent an hour and 15 minutes on the consensus measure, which covers two dozen aspects of Oklahoma's medical marijuana program.

A lot of discussion focused on a provision allowing license holders to own guns. Rep. Matt Meredith told Rep. Scott Fetgatter that’s contrary to federal law and could have unintended consequences.

"There’s going to be some people liable to get caught up in the federal system not knowing that they’re not allowed to own a gun. Even if they have a medical marijuana card, they’re still not allowed to own a gun. Is that correct?" Meredith said.

"Representative, here’s what I would say to you. If you want to run a piece of legislation that says that the voters who voted for State Question 788 are not allowed to own a firearm in the state of Oklahoma, I’d be glad to see that come through, I guess," Fetgatter said.

Fetgatter later responded to critics who said Oklahoma is doing the same thing as sanctuary cities choosing not to enforce immigration laws: effectively turning its back on the federal government.

"I would say in response, no we did not as a body in this chamber. The citizens of the state of Oklahoma in the month of June voted and said the federal government was out of line and that we should have the opportunity to have medicinal marijuana in the state of Oklahoma," Fetgatter said.

Democratic Rep. Shane Stone was among the five "nays" on the bill. Stone said the regulations treat marijuana differently than alcohol and tobacco despite research indicating it’s less addictive.

"This is an adherence to antiquated mentalities where — and the reefer madness that existed in the past where we can’t admit that there is medical viability behind marijuana," Stone said. "We can’t admit that, yes, these other products which we’ve allowed people in the state to use for decades … we can’t admit that it’s less dangerous."

Stone said the unity bill’s regulations exceed what voters wanted when they approved State Question 780.