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March 4th, 2019
Dear Senator __________________,
I am contacting you with regards to HB 2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act. While I am very happy that the legislature is developing a framework for our state’s medical marijuana program, there are a number of items that need to be more fully addressed.
First, Section 7.C. of HB 2612 authorizes “any physician of the licensee” to have access to their patient’s OMMA records. Although this sounds reasonable on the surface, many physicians, especially oncologists and pain management doctors, will be seeking information about their patients not for the sake of their care, but out of a widespread and unfounded fear that allowing patients to use medical marijuana places their DEA prescribing license at risk. In short, while it certainly is reasonable for physicians to have the information they need to best care for their patients, access to patient records should be permitted solely for this purpose and not for their private business concerns. Accordingly, Section 7.C. should remove this authorization or stipulate that patients sign an OMMA form naming those physicians who may access their records.
Second, Section 8.H-K excludes employees in “safety-sensitive” positions from the employment protections in SQ 788. While, again, this may seem reasonable on the surface, the list of safety-sensitive positions is not only far too broad, but more fundamentally, there is no correlation between workplace impairment and positive urinalysis. Employees may test positive for THC metabolites merely by using federally legal CBD/hemp products. In addition, these metabolites, which themselves have no psychoactive effect, linger in the body for as long as a month. This would be analogous to charging a driver with a DUI in virtue of an alcohol metabolite which remains in his system ten days after he had a beer some Sunday afternoon.
Third, because the Oklahoma Tax commission arbitrarily decided to treat the 7% sales tax in SQ 788 as an excise tax, dispensaries have been required to charge not only the 7% tax, but also the state sales tax and local sales tax for a combined taxation rate of roughly 15%. As a medical program, this is inappropriate. The tax rate should be no higher than the general retail sales tax rate, as it would be for over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol.
Lastly, Section 13.B. requires that commercial licensees use a seed-to-sale tracking system. Although such a requirement was reasonable for the vanguard of states which legalized marijuana, it is now legal in 33 states, with another five to seven states likely to legalize in the coming months, as well as federal legalization within a year’s time. In short, the era of marijuana prohibition is nearly at its end and thus it is unduly onerous on businesses to burden them with the costs to implement a seed-to-sale system to prevent diversion to the remaining prohibition states for such a sort duration.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and would be happy to discuss it with you further.
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