Lawmakers predict changes to state pot law

Two state lawmakers said Tuesday it is likely the legislature will look at making changes to the state’s recently passed medical marijuana law.

The law, approved in June by voters, is vague on setting restrictions, other than how far dispensaries can be from schools, Sen. Lonnie Paxton told those attending a legislative breakfast at the Yukon Police Department.

Because the law is statutory and not constitutional, Paxton said it can be changed. A constitutional law cannot.

Paxton, along with Sen. Stephanie Bice, said the current law needs more regulatory control.

Currently, the law sets restrictions of 1,000 feet from schools. No other restrictions are set.

Paxton said there have been concerns voiced that churches and parks are not included.

“What we have now is a disaster,” Paxton said.

He also pointed out that laws should be the same everywhere so residents don’t have to wonder if they are breaking the law.

“I expect it will be cleaned up next year,” he said.

Yukon recently passed an ordinance that would restrict medical marijuana dispensaries from locating within 1,000 feet of any school, church, museum, park, half-way house, community center, daycare or residential area.

City Manager Jim Crosby said Tuesday that those restrictions may be adjusted in the future to be more along the lines of similar businesses.

Paxton said it is likely that Yukon is setting itself up for a lawsuit.

“No matter what we do, and we will do something, some people will scream” that it not what was on the ballot.

He also pointed out that neither a petition to make the law constitutional or one to legalize recreational marijuana received enough signatures.

“That tells me there is no appetite for recreational marijuana,” Paxton said.

He also said that 64 percent of people polled recently on legalizing marijuana said they would not support it.

Also during Tuesday’s breakfast, Bice said the next legislature will look significantly different.

“Fifty-five of 101 House members will be new. It is really difficult to fix issues when you have turnover like that,” she said.

In the Senate, 16 could be new, and 25 of the 48 members have two years or less of experience.

“Experience matters,” Bice said. “It is very challenging.

Bice was appointed earlier this year to serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

“I am thrilled to be a part of it,” Bice said.

She said that much of her effort would be to help replenish the state’s rainy-day fund, which was significantly depleted over the past few years.

Also attending the breakfast were Steve Carson, who represents Sen. James Lankford, and Grace Enmeier, who is a field representative for Rep. Frank Lucas.

The two discussed current issues in Congress, including the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which began Tuesday.

Carson said there are still more than 100 federal nominations awaiting approval, including several in Oklahoma.

Carson said the senator expects that Kavanaugh’s hearing will take at least 80 days. Normally, the hearings take fewer than 60 days.

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