State Question 788, approved by Oklahoma voters in June 2018, legalized medical marijuana use in Oklahoma. After State Question 788 was approved, the Oklahoma legislature passed a series of bills supplementing the text of State Question 788 and the emergency rules implemented after State Question 788 passed. The new laws passed by the Oklahoma legislature further clarify the existing law and implement new practices and guidelines related to the use of medical marijuana. Among the new laws passed by the legislature are a number of guidelines that are designed to provide increased protection to medical marijuana license holders.

Included in the new laws is a prohibition that prevents municipalities and counties from enacting medical marijuana guidelines that restrict or interfere with the rights of a licensed patient or caregiver to possess, purchase, cultivate, or transport medical marijuana. Municipalities and counties also are prohibited from requiring patients and/or caregivers to obtain additional licenses or permits.

 While the new legislation does establish and/or expand protections for medical marijuana license holders, several restrictions still apply to medical marijuana users. One restriction is that residential and commercial property owners can prohibit medical marijuana users from consuming medical marijuana products that produce smoke or vaporization on the premises, in the premises, or within ten (10) feet of the entryway. However, residential or commercial property owners are not allowed to prevent medical marijuana license holders from using otherwise legal products that do not produce smoke or vaporization.   

The new legislation also prevents individuals who apply for and/or qualify for public benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from being denied for these benefits solely based on their status as a medical marijuana license holder.

Another protection extended to medical marijuana patients or caregivers is that they will not be denied the right to own, purchase, possess, or use guns, ammunition, or any other related accessories solely because of their status as a medical marijuana license holder.

The new legislation also puts into place protections for employees who are medical marijuana license holders. The new legislations prevents most employers from refusing to hire, disciplining, discharging, or penalizing an applicant or employee solely on the basis of their status as a medical marijuana license holder. However, if an employer is required by federal law to discipline or refuse to hire an individual who uses marijuana, they may do so. Additionally, if they are required to do so in order to obtain federal funding, they may also refuse to hire and/or discipline an employee who uses marijuana, even if they have a valid medical marijuana license.

Furthermore, the new legislation prevents an employer from refusing to hire, disciplining, discharging, or penalizing an applicant or employee solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana unless the person does not hold a valid medical marijuana license, the person consumes or is under the influence of the medical marijuana while at the place of employment or during the fulfillment of employment obligations, or the position is one that is considered to have safety-sensitive job duties. A job will be considered to be safety-sensitive if it includes tasks or duties that the employer reasonably believes could affect the safety and health of the employee performing the task or others. Examples of safety-sensitive jobs include handling, packing, processing, storing, disposing or transporting hazardous material; operating a motor vehicle, equipment, machinery or power tools; performing firefighting duties; the operation, maintenance or oversight of critical services and infrastructure including electricity, gas, and water utilities; dispensing pharmaceuticals; carrying a firearm; or direct care of a patient or child.  

Lastly, persons using medical marijuana products who have a valid medical marijuana license on them cannot be arrested, prosecuted, assessed a penalty, or denied any right privilege or public assistance for using medical marijuana so long they are complying with any enacted laws.

Comments are closed.