Perplexing problem

Medical marijuana issue stumps private, public employers

Jim Crosby, Yukon City Manager

By Alyssa Sperrazza
Staff Writer

Although medical marijuana is allowed in Oklahoma, employers aren’t sure how they will handle employees who use the drug.

Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby said discussions are ongoing about employees who use medical marijuana, but he and the city council don’t have any definitive plans yet on dealing with them.

“There are lots of unanswered questions and it’s hard to say until we get more clarification from the state,” Crosby said. “It’s something that we’re going to have to ease into. Right now, I’m sure somebody’s using it at the present time… as long as they’re within the law…”
Crosby said there is not a quick fix or answer to how employers will go about handling the new laws, and “we’re probably months and months away from getting an answer.”

Private business have also begun looking into how medical marijuana will affect employment and what, if any new rules, will be put in place.

YNB President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Randy Wright, said they’re still combing through the information and cannot say what their course of action will be in the future.

“We’ve thought about it but we’re still reading and bringing it up to date at this time,” Wright said. “I’m gonna have to learn more about it. We’re looking like every business but there’s still a lot of moving parts at this time… Until we get some firm answers about what can be done and what cannot be done and then we’ll move on from there.”

As of Sept. 24, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority reported that 5,724 patient, 45 caregiver and 1,619 business applications have been received.

In addition, the authority reported 4,948 licenses have been approved, including 3,786 for patients, 27 for caregivers, 377 for dispensaries, 593 for growers and 165 for processors.

Yukon had its own problems recently when the city council approved a restrictive ordinance for dispensaries. The ordinance, which was later amended, allowed dispensaries to locate primarily on property south of Interstate 40 and along Garth Brooks Boulevard.

The city council later revised the ordinance to include more options for people wanting to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

The initial ordinance prevented dispensaries from locating within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, churches, museums and neighborhoods.

The council later removed the neighborhood provision and lowered the 1,000-foot rule to 300 feet for parks, churches and museums. The 1,000-foot restriction for schools remains in place.