Stitt signs Unity Bill regulating Oklahoma medical marijuana industry
Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2612 Thursday, a measure commonly referred to as the medical marijuana Unity Bill.
The bill encompasses Oklahoma's fledgling medical marijuana industry. Its content is largely the product of a bicameral Medical Marijuana Working Group, which was charged with building a legal framework to implement State Question 788. The bill cleared the House and Senate by large margins before being signed by Stitt.
“This is a work in progress,” Stitt said. “I’m sure we will learn more and learn how to regulate this as the years go by.”
The bill will go into effect 90 days after signing, according to the governor's spokeswoman Baylee Lakey.
Stitt praised the working group’s effort to provide a structure with which to regulate an industry requested by Oklahomans through the passage of SQ 788. The bill’s restriction of usage by patients working safety sensitive jobs and specifics on labeling and packaging were items Stitt felt were essential.
“If Oklahomans said it was a medicine, let’s treat it like a medicine,” Stitt said.
A portion of the bill addresses use of medical marijuana by employees in safety sensitive jobs. Stitt said the portion is necessary for both employees and employers.
“We have to make sure we are addressing safety concerns,” Stitt said. “This new bill will allow employers to restrict employees from working while under the influence.”
He expects additional bills to make their way through the legislative process providing additional framework for the young industry.
However, Stitt made clear he is opposed to any future form of recreational marijuana in the state.
“I am not for recreational,” Stitt said. “I still think it’s a harmful substance.”
Some of the subjects of the bill include:
• Testing: The Department of Health would be designated to perform on-site assessments, provide disciplinary actions for violations and assess monetary penalties. Items would be tested for microbials, mycotoxins, residual solvents, pesticides, THC and other cannabinoid potency, terpenoid potency, and heavy metals.
• Packaging and labeling: Packaging should minimize appeal to children and will not depict images other than the business name logo of the producer and image of the product. They would have to include a universal symbol indicating the product contains THC, the level of THC and potency, and a statement indicating the product had been tested for contaminants.
• Physician requirements: Only licensed Oklahoma physicians could provide recommendation for a patient license. Physicians could not be located at the same physical address as a dispensary.
• Business requirements: The authority would require medical marijuana businesses to keep records for transactions and would use a seed-to-sale tracking system. Seed-to-sale tracking systems would include businesses, product types, batch numbers of plants used, financial details and any other information required by the Health Department.The bill already unanimously cleared the original working group at the beginning of this legislative session before being passed by the House 93 to 5 last month.