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Pot advocates celebrated the end result of a yearslong effort to ease restrictions on using hashish ultimate month when just about 60 p.c of Oklahoma citizens accepted clinical marijuana.

Oklahoma’s proponents had even incorporated a two-month closing date for the implementation of their measure so that you could steer clear of the years of delays that they had noticed somewhere else.

However that has no longer stopped state well being officers and the Republican governor from making drastic adjustments . Inside of weeks of the election, they signed off on tricky new restrictions, together with a ban at the sale of smokable pot. The exchange used to be supported by way of teams representing medical doctors, hospitals and pharmacists who adversarial clinical marijuana, however infuriated supporters of the state query and has already resulted in proceedings.

“It is like they snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory,” mentioned Chip Paul, who helped write Oklahoma’s clinical marijuana state query and push for its approval. “You attempt to do one thing the right kind method. You apply the principles. And then you definately win and also you get screwed.”

Even in conservative states similar to Oklahoma, which become the 30th within the U.S. to legalize clinical marijuana , attitudes are transferring in prefer of easing restrictions on pot. However there stays resistance from policymakers, particularly in Republican-controlled spaces, the place the rollout of clinical marijuana has incessantly been limited by way of lawmakers or slowed down in court docket battles.

After greater than 70 p.c of Florida citizens accepted clinical marijuana in 2016, the Republican-controlled Legislature there imposed a identical ban on smokable pot. A pass judgement on ultimate month dominated that one of these ban used to be unconstitutional.

In Arkansas, 53 p.c of citizens accepted clinical marijuana in 2016, however a felony problem has behind schedule this system. Michigan citizens accepted clinical marijuana in 2008, handiest to be adopted by way of years of court docket fights.

In Texas, the GOP-led Legislature accepted a restrictive clinical marijuana regulation in 2015, then proceeded to institute strict rules. It allowed handiest 3 dispensaries in a state of 27 million other folks and imposed the best possible licensing charges within the nation.

Marijuana advocates say the limitations on how clinical marijuana can be utilized or the extra burdens put on medical doctors might finally end up undermining the projects and rules.

“The level of boundaries actually serves to deprive other folks of the important thing function, which is letting other folks use clinical marijuana with out being punished,” mentioned Karen O’Keefe, director of state insurance policies for the Marijuana Coverage Venture.

Efforts to closely limit clinical marijuana in Arkansas — together with an outright ban on smoking it and an try to extend this system’s release till marijuana used to be legalized national — failed within the majority-Republican Legislature ultimate 12 months. However this system’s release has stalled and clinical marijuana most likely would possibly not be to be had till someday subsequent 12 months.

The issue stems from felony demanding situations over the state’s licensing procedure for clinical marijuana. The state Ideally suited Courtroom ultimate month cleared the way in which for this system to start, reversing a decrease pass judgement on’s ruling that the licensing procedure used to be fallacious and violated the constitutional modification legalizing clinical marijuana. An unsuccessful applicant had sued over the method.

Greater than five,500 sufferers were accepted to make use of clinical marijuana within the state, and Arkansas will factor them registry playing cards a couple of month sooner than the drug is anticipated to be legally to be had.

“If I used to be a affected person, I might be coming unglued. I feel they’re coming unglued,” mentioned legal professional David Sofa, who authored Arkansas’ clinical marijuana modification.

Oklahoma’s State Query 788 , the results of an activist-led signature force, handed overwhelmingly regardless of fierce opposition and greater than $1 million in spending by way of chambers of trade, clergy, medical doctors, hospitals, regulation enforcement and pharmacists.

Time period-limited Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who most often does not touch upon state questions, mentioned days sooner than the measure handed that it used to be too loosely written and would necessarily permit leisure use.

After it handed, the similar clinical teams that adversarial it advisable the ban on “smokables” and the pharmacist requirement. On Friday, separate proceedings have been filed in two Oklahoma counties accusing state well being officers of improperly implementing the stern regulations.

“Smoking of any sort is dangerous,” mentioned Oklahoma State Clinical Affiliation President Jean Hausheer, an ophthalmologist from Lawton. “This factor isn’t an choice and actually is extra of an absolute call for.”


DeMillo reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Related Press author Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this file.


Apply Sean Murphy at and Andrew Demillo at .


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