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Cannabis trade group releases regulatory framework for SQ 788

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In three days, State Question 788 officially takes effect but with no regulatory framework in place, many are left wondering what this means for the implementation of the medical marijuana program.

Emergency rules give the state 30 additional days to establish a framework for the program, but one part of the SQ 788 will immediately take effect: starting July 26, SQ 788 says those without a patient license found in possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana will face only a misdemeanor and a $400 fine if they can prove they suffer from a medical condition.

Under current law, the punishment for possession of any amount of marijuana is up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The SQ 788 hangs in the balance, as lawmakers and cannabis trade groups rush to come up with a plan.

New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO) has released what it calls model legislation outlining a regulatory infrastructure for Oklahoma’s fledgling medical cannabis program.

NHSO Executive Director Bud Scott said his intent is to be a resource for lawmakers looking to carry out the will of the people, who overwhelmingly voted to support State Question 788. Scott said the medical cannabis industry believes in timely and responsible implementation and wants to address the legitimate concerns raised by the business community and others.

The group is now calling on all Oklahomans with an interest in medical cannabis to review the legislation and submit input.

"We've gotten a lot of those comments online over the weekend and we've actually even red-lined and made some draft changes that we will be presenting as an update to our legislators this week as we go along,” said Jed Green, NHSO political director.

A legislative working group on medical marijuana will host its first meeting Wednesday afternoon.

NHSO and Green The Vote are expected to give presentations during that meeting. Both groups hope it will ultimately lead to a special session.

"Here's the work, we've come together, everyone's basically good with it; as good as you can be in a compromise,” Green said. “And, at that point in time the obvious thing to do is get into special session.”

NHSO has been urging the governor to call for a special session since the passage of SQ 788 on June 26.

License application forms and instructions will be available for download beginning Thursday through the Oklahoma State department of Health

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Applications will not be accepted until August 25.

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