TULSA, Okla. -- State Question 788 will take effect Thursday, but that doesn't mean medical marijuana will become legal.
The Department of Health is still working to implement emergency rules to decide how the drug will be regulated.
Lawmakers and law enforcement, along with city and state officials are scrambling to come up with a policy before Thursday’s first stage of SQ 788 rolls out.
“It could be described as chaotic,” Erik Grayless, first Assistant District Attorney of Tulsa County, said. “We are going to absolutely enforce the will of the people and the law as it is written.”
July 26 will mark the first day parts of the state question go into effect, but it isn’t without concern.
“The possession of marijuana under one and half ounces will no longer be punishable by up to a year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine, but instead a fine only up to $400,” Grayless said.
That fine is only subject to individuals caught with simple marijuana possession if they can state a medical condition to law enforcement. But that’s when the new law gets sticky.
“The law does critically not state what a qualifying medical condition is,” Grayless said. “Can you say you have anxiety or you stubbed your toe? Is that a medical necessity for marijuana?”
The state question on this matte is silent, which is why lawmakers are looking to the Department of Health for guidance.
Many questions on how to handle Thursday’s new law hang in the balance.
“What are police going to do when they encounter this at a traffic stop,” Grayless said. “What are prosecutors going to do when they receive this in a report from police? The answer is we don’t know yet.”
2 Works for You reached out to the City of Tulsa to see how the legal department will advise police officers to deal with simple possession crimes, however officials said it's too soon to say. They hope to have a better grasp on policy by Wednesday.
“All the rules have not been written,” Grayless said. “We don’t exactly know what’s going to happen next.”
Officials said part of the problem was the quick implementation of the state question, which was voted to go into effect 30 days after passing. Lawmakers said it gave ample time to come up with ways to regulate the new law.
The next big date for medical marijuana is August 25. That's when the Department of Health plans to have in place the forms physicians will be required to submit if they recommend cannabis to patients. Those patients will also be able to apply for a medical marijuana license.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.