Tulsa World editorial: Health board should reverse smokable marijuana rule

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If the state health board was looking for a way to get itself sued, anger hundreds of thousands of voters and boost the effort to legalize recreational marijuana, mission accomplished.

The board voted Tuesday to prevent medical marijuana dispensaries from selling smokable marijuana, essentially undermining the expressed will of Oklahoma voters in State Question 788. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the temporary rules Wednesday.

Voters approved SQ 788, which authorized medical marijuana, by nearly 57 percent June 26, and it seems perfectly obvious to us that it would lead to smokable marijuana through legal, regulated dispensaries.

The board’s rules don’t prevent licensed marijuana patients from smoking their therapy. They just can’t buy it legitimately, meaning they’ll probably have to grow their own or find other means.

Smoking — tobacco or marijuana — isn’t a good delivery system for medicine, and majority vote is a cockeyed way to make medical policy.

But, frankly, neither of those considerations matter. Oklahoma crossed a threshold when we approved SQ 788, and it isn’t the job of the health board to substitute its judgment for that of the 507,582 Oklahomans who voted for it.

At this point, even SQ 788’s strongest opponents should want to see the letter and the spirit of the proposal carried out. Anything less risks something far more dangerous than easy access to smokable marijuana. It risks the faith of voters that their voices count and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Preventing dispensaries from selling smokable marijuana is not what the governed consented to, and we think the health board members knew as much, or should have known it.

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