When I used to tour the country with various bands and artists, two of the least cannabis-friendly states we’d hit were Florida and Oklahoma.
(The time I was asked to let the chief of police in a small Florida town onto our tour bus—in which nearly every flat surface was covered in weed—is a white-knuckle story for another time…)
But things may be changing in these, um, jewels of the South, as shown by two stories this week from cannabis news site Merry Jane.
In Florida, Merry Jane reports, a long-running legal battle over how the state’s medical cannabis program is executed took another turn with recent court rulings.
In 2016, a voter-approved ballot measure was passed to implement a medical cannabis program, providing patients access to flowers and edibles for 10 qualifying medical conditions.
But state lawmakers choose to override the measure, writing and enacting a far more restrictive set of rules which banned smokeable flower and edibles.
Which left voters with topicals and thumbing through old issues of High Times, I guess?
A judge in May ruled the ban unconstitutional, and this week another judge said the severe restrictions on the number of dispensaries was bullshit, as the entire state has a mere 14 dispensary licenses.
Furthermore, he said that dispensaries did not need to be fully vertically integrated (i.e., the business growing the weed was the only one that could process it and sell it). The rulings could still be overturned, because, hey, it’s Florida, but it’s a great start.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, Merry Jane says even more restrictive changes were made by the Board of Health to the state’s voter-approved law.
The geniuses of the BOH imposed changes that banned smokeable cannabis, required a licensed pharmacist to be on site at each dispensary, severely restricted the amount of THC in products, and, in a new level of marijuana misogyny, required every female customer of childbearing age undergo a pregnancy test.”
Yes, awful white men did write and pass these rules, why do you ask?
But the groups who wrote the original measure informed the governor they would be suing, which moved the state’s attorney general to urge rescinding the changes, lest Oklahoma be forced to defend why it had performed such draconian changes to the original voter-passed bill. The governor did so.
Let’s hope the fine citizens of these two states get a recreational cannabis program soon, because lord knows they deserve one.