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Senate passes marijuana reforms to better protect youth and patients

Senate passes marijuana reforms to better protect youth and patients

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate continued their efforts Thursday to improve public safety within the medical marijuana industry. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, said the bills focus on youth access, medical education, product potency, recalls, and other important issues requested by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA).

“Medical marijuana was overwhelmingly supported by Oklahoma voters in 2018 but unfortunately numerous safety issues have arisen that must be addressed to ensure these products are prescribed and accessible only for those with true medical needs and conditions,” Garvin said. “These bills will require continuing education for doctors in order to prescribe these products, create guardrails to protect youth, limit dangerous THC levels, and provide additional tools for OMMA to stop illegal activity. These reforms will help better protect legitimate patients and businesses.”

The approved bills included –

  • SB 437 – directs the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to create a registry that will be published beginning Jan. 1, 2025, of recommending physicians in compliance with the agency’s initial and continuing medical education requirements. All medical marijuana business employees will also be required to complete these education requirements.
  • SB 440 – directs OMMA to create rules limiting the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency of medical marijuana and related products sold in dispensaries to no more than 1,000 mg of delta-9 THC per package for edible products; 5 mg of delta-8 THC or any other THC isomer or analogue that occurs naturally in cannabis per package for edibles; or an action level of 1.0 parts per million of any THC isomer, THC analogue, or any other cannabinoid that does not occur naturally in cannabis per package of edibles. The director may impose further THC limits for edibles for patients under 18 and will limit minors’ access to THC vape products.
  • SB 439 – deals with minor patients under the age of 18. It directs OMMA to issue a list of qualifying medical conditions for minors to obtain a medical marijuana license. Physicians will be required to conduct in-person exams of all minor license applicants unless the patient is certified as home-bound. It also provides that the two recommending physicians required to prescribe medical marijuana for minors may not be located at the same physical address. Before prescribing medical marijuana, at least one of the doctors must attest that the minor has been under his or her care or referred to by a physician who has cared for the applicant for at least one year, or not less than five years if the patient has only been seen through telemedicine.
  • SB 264 – authorizes OMMA to use secret shoppers to find businesses not complying with the state’s medical marijuana laws and rules.
  • SB 645 – requires that any medical marijuana flower, trim, shake, kief, medical marijuana product, or other flower-based product not defined as a concentrate, sold by licensed medical marijuana processors and commercial growers to licensed dispensaries be in pre-packaged form weighing at least half of a gram and no more than three ounces. Medical marijuana flowers may be packaged in nonopaque materials.
  • SB 813 – authorizes the OMMA to operate a quality assurance lab to conduct compliance testing of medical marijuana businesses.

The bills now move to the House for further consideration. Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow, is the principal House author for them.

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