New Oklahoma Law Could Undermine Patient Protections
The latest cannabis law in the state of Oklahoma has language that many say undermine patients rights to access medication. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act (HB 2612), signed into law on March 14, 2019, includes revisions to the voter-enacted Medical Marijuana law.
Under the new law, landlords can prohibit smoking and vaping of cannabis products on their properties. While prohibiting smoking is understandable, many patients require the instant relief that inhaling can provide (as is the case with many epilepsy patients who use cannabis for seizure relief). Since vaping is an odorless alternative, some feel that allowing landlords to prohibit vaping could hinder the use of medication in emergency situations.
The new law also makes it more difficult for renters to cultivate their own plants, requiring written permission from a landlord before cultivation can start. It also creates exemptions for allowing employers to fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even if they are allowed to consume it for medical purposes (and are not under the influence while on the clock). Patients are also prohibited from making out-of-state purchases.
Although this might seem like a step backward, the new law also requires that all cannabis products sold in the State of Oklahoma to undergo mandatory lab testing. This would ensure strict regulations on quality, protecting more patients from possible contamination.
We can also expect more revisions and amendments in the future. As Oklahoma navigates the world of legalized medical cannabis, the industry and policymakers will have to work together to create a long-lasting policy that benefits the economy and patients who depend on medical marijuana.