Lawmakers next month are expected to study advertising for medical marijuana. The interim study was requested by Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, who said constituents had called for the study.
“I had four constituents give me a call very concerned with the billboards,” Townley said. “Some of them are a little — let’s just say they don’t indicate they are for medical marijuana. It is more of a recreational-type billboard.”
Oklahoma voters on June 26, 2018, voted to legalize medical marijuana. State Question 788 passed by nearly 57% after enough signatures were gathered to put the measure on the ballot.
Lawmakers then passed House Bill 2612, dubbed the Unity Bill, which outlines the regulatory framework for implementation and clarifies some issues.
Chip Paul is chairman of Oklahomans for Health, which pushed to get legalization of medical marijuana on the ballot.
“Regrettably, we do have situations around the state where dispensaries are crossing the recreational line and advertising more as a recreational exercise rather than a medical exercise,” Paul said.
Townley said some advertise using the words “happy hour.”
“We don’t hand out pharmacy drugs in happy hour, so why are we doing medical marijuana,” she said.
In another example, medical marijuana was advertised as a treat, she said.
Mark Woodward is a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He said medical marijuana should not be advertised in such a way that it appeals to underage youths.
The rules of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority prevent the advertising of the product that has any manner of design that would appeal to children, according to information provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Townley said she wants to bring in experts to give lawmakers some guidelines. She said she wants to get both sides of the story.
“I am not against medical marijuana,” she said. “I think it has some good value. I think it has a place, but we also do not need to be making it glamorous.”
While some medical marijuana dispensaries have tasteful billboards, some cross the line, she said.
The interim study is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 29 in room 432A of the State Capitol.