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Lawmaker Wants To Eliminate Telemed For Marijuana Patients, Impose Qualifying Conditions

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Attorney, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Compliance, OMMA, OMMA Licensing Attorney

A state lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would get rid of telemedicine for marijuana patients and impose qualifying medical conditions to get a patient license, said Tulsa attorney Stephen Cale.

The following is for information purposes only and is not legal advice.


Telemedicine, sometimes called telemed or telehealth, allows a health care provider to serve a patient without an in-person visit. Instead, a patient visits with the provider online with a computer, smartphone or tablet.

If passed into law, SB 439, introduced by Sen. Jessica Garvin (R-Duncan), would eliminate telemed visits for people applying for a marijuana patient license. However, an exception would be made for physicians who certify that the patient is homebound and needs a licensed medical marijuana caregiver.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

Currently, Oklahomans who want a medical marijuana patient license must get a doctor recommendation. However, the law does not require that a person have certain medical conditions to qualify for a patient license.

But that’s not like some other medical marijuana states, Cale said. For example, in South Dakota, a person must have a “debilitating medical condition” to get a patient license.

If it became law, SB 439 would give the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) the ability to establish qualifying medical conditions. So, for example, the OMMA could decide that only persons with diagnosed with cancer may qualify for a patient license.

Changes For Patients Who Are Minors

Currently, minor patients must have a recommendation from two physicians. SB 439 would keep that requirement in place. However, recommending doctors could not be located the same physical address.

Other changes under SB 439 related to minor patient applicants include:

  • At least one of the physicians must attest that the minor applicant has been under the care of the physician for at least one (1) year, or
  • That the minor applicant was referred to the physician by a physician whose care the minor applicant has been for at least one (1) year.

If passed into law, SB 439 would go into effect Jan. 1, 2025.

Potential Changes For Recommending Doctors

Sen. Garvin also introduced SB 437, which concerns recommending doctors. It would mandate that the OMMA keep a registry of those doctors. Only physicians registered with the OMMA could provide marijuana patient recommendations. Also, those doctors would have to complete certain medical and continuing medical education authorized by the OMMA.

Dispensary Employee Education Provision

SB 437 also has education requirements for dispensary employees. If passed into law, SB 437 would require the OMMA to set certain education and continuing education requirements for dispensary employees. The bill does not specify the subject matter of education. Neither does the bill specify whether only certain dispensary employees (such as bud tenders) must comply with the education requirements.

If passed into law, SB 437 would go into effect January 1, 2024.

Other Marijuana-Related Bills Authored By Sen. Garvin

Sen. Garvin also recently introduced other marijuana-related measures. Those include:

SB 239 – Allows counties, cities, towns to enter in agreements with state agencies to search and seize contraband and to be compensated for

SB 389 – Allows state level tax deductions for medical marijuana businesses despite federal 280E tax status. See Bills Introduced to Give Tax Breaks to Oklahoma Marijuana Businesses

SB 440 – Limits Delta 8 and 9 THC “potency” (concentrations) in medical marijuana and marijuana products. Also prohibits Delta 10 THC products that may be sold in dispensaries. See Bill Seeks Potency Limits for Oklahoma Marijuana

SB 501 – Prohibits smoking or vaping in a vehicle with a minor present, sets a fine for doing so.

SB 645 – Requires marijuana and marijuana products to be sold in pre-package form.

SB 689 – Gives counties the ability to adopt ordinances related to nuisance odors coming from marijuana grow facilities.

SB 806 – Requires marijuana businesses to provide the OMMA with insurance verification for the business’s transportation agents.

SB 807 – Creates the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Commission.

SB 810 – Exempts marijuana businesses from certain transportation requirements when transporting medical marijuana waste between licensed facilities.

SB 813 – Allows OMMA to operate the state quality assurance lab. Replaces the METIS contract.

Tulsa marijuana license attorney Stephen Cale is the founder of Cale Law Office. He has been serving people with legal needs for 24 years.

Cale works with a number of marijuana-related organizations. He is a Legal Committee member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). He is also on the Cannabis Law Committee for the Oklahoma Bar Association.