Protests in Oklahoma are Working - Medical Board Removes Provisions

The Oklahoma Medical Board Drops Pregnancy Testing for MMJ Licensing and Lifts Ban on Smokable Weed.

The original rules approved by the board earlier this month prompted outrage from medical marijuana supporters who called them too restrictive then two separate groups sued the board. Attorney General, Mike Hunter, even said the board had overstepped its authority and recommended changes.

This, and public outcry, encouraged the Oklahoma health officials to remove some of the most offensive provisions: one was requiring women of childbearing age to undergo a pregnancy test before being given an MMJ recommendation.

Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, said she’s not aware of any other state with such a pregnancy requirement.

“It’s shockingly patronizing and invasive, and would drive up costs for females,” O’Keefe said, per the Washington Post.

The ban of the sale of smokable pot and the requirement for a pharmacist in every dispensary were also being removed. Both of those rules were adopted unexpectedly at an emergency meeting and approved by the board despite a warning by its own attorney advising against it. Gov. Mary Fallin signed them into law the next day.

Other rule changes that raised concern were limits on levels of THC in products and plants.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health posted the new rules on its website and the agency’s board is expected to consider them at a special meeting on Wednesday.

O’Keefe and several Oklahoma medical marijuana advocates say the proposed new rules are an improvement, but that there are still several problematic provisions. O’Keefe said the new rules still require physicians to somehow “ascertain” if a woman is pregnant, which she said could lead once again to the testing requirement.

Chip Paul, who helped write the state question approved by 57 percent of Oklahoma voters last month, said he’s pleased with most of the changes, but that provisions related to laboratory testing of marijuana products are still too restrictive.

Oklahoma State Department of Health spokesman Tony Sellars said the rules still may be amended by the board.

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