As Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration last week announced a new director for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, its fourth in three years, some lawmakers shared ongoing concerns about the state agency’s operations, organization and oversight.
House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, along with Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, led a bipartisan, bicameral medical marijuana legislative working group created after the passage of State Question 788 in 2018.
Echols said he supports the appointment of Adria Berry in the new role at the helm of OMMA but thinks “fundamental flaws” still exist within the agency’s structure.
“OMMA needs to be a standalone agency,” he said Thursday. “It does not need to be a small part of the Oklahoma Department of Health.”
Regarding the statutory authority for Berry’s appointment, a Health Department spokesperson said Thursday, “Commissioner (Lance) Frye, serving at the Governor’s pleasure … made that employment decision.”
Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, was a key member of the working group and became a primary author of several bills related to enforcement of the 3-year-old industry.
News of Berry’s hiring came as a surprise, Fetgatter said, adding he is optimistic about Berry’s ability to lead the OMMA effectively despite her past statements in opposition to parts of SQ 788.