Next steps after Oklahoma voters approve SQ 788 to legalize medical marijuana

TULSA, Okla. - Oklahomans voted "yes" on State Question 788 on Tuesday to legalize medical marijuana, so what's next?

Governor Mary Fallin has started meeting with legislative leaders, state agencies and marijuana industry experts on how to best proceed with proper regulations.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Health, the first step will be for its board to review the 63 pages of rules it has written and make any changes it finds necessary on July 10th.

If approved, anyone interested in applying for a license will be able to go to a new website the department created to get information about the requirements on July 26th.

Then, the department will start accepting and reviewing applications on August 25th.

It will take a certified physician 14 business days to either reject or approve an application. So if nothing changes, Oklahoma could see the first patients getting their licenses by the second week of September.

However, the law needs to be enacted before patients purchase marijuana through a dispensary.

Comparing the process to other states like neighboring Arkansas or Illinois, it could take months to a couple of years before dispensaries open. The cultivation of marijuana from the grower to the processor is a lengthy one.

Writers of of the measure from the Oklahomans for Health say the law is written tightly, but there needs to be regulations, which they plan on proposing through trade organizations.

The Oklahoma Cannabis Business Alliance says there are nearly 100 business owners in Tulsa, and dozens more in Oklahoma City, who are interested in opening a dispensary.

People can start applying for a medical marijuana license through the state department in about a month, after lawmakers dissect 788 to make sure there are no loose ends.

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