Despite Medical Marijuana License, Oklahoma Woman Charged with Drug Possession

An Adair County mother has been charged with illegal possession of marijuana, despite having a medical marijuana license that allows her to lawfully possess up to three ounces of marijuana.

Regina Gist, 49, was pulled over late last month for having a broken brake light. When the officer asked her if she had "anything on" her, Gist replied that she had a medical marijuana license and a "little bit" of marijuana in her possession. The woman believed that she was in legal possession of the drug in accordance with the terms of her license. The officer, however, believed differently. According to the officer, Gist was not able to have lawfully obtained the marijuana since there were currently no dispensaries operating in Oklahoma, and therefore, her possession of the marijuana was illegal in his opinion. Gist was arrested and charged with illegal marijuana possession.

The woman's defense attorney, however, argues that there is nothing illegal about his client's possession of the drug. According to him, state law says that she must have a medical marijuana license to possess up to three ounces marijuana. He argues that Gist met those legal requirements. He furthers, "Nowhere does it say you have to get it from the dispensary, you have to get it from XYZ. So with that language controlling, it's our position they have no basis to charge her."

The Adair County district attorney's office seems to be somewhat flummoxed by the case as well. An assistant district attorney says the law is "all new" to her, and until she can get more clarification on the law, the district attorney's office will continue to move forward with the case against Gist. She says that after she has researched the law, she may ultimately dismiss the charges.

State Question 788 and the resulting law is a document that is several pages long. In this document, the law makes stipulations for the obtaining of a medical marijuana license, how much marijuana a person may lawfully possess under the terms of the license, and requirements for obtaining a license to cultivate, distribute, and sell through wholesale or retail. The law says who may legally sell marijuana, but it does not make stipulations for penalties or criminal prosecution for a medical marijuana license holder buying from someone other than an authorized Oklahoma dispensary.

The medical marijuana laws were relatively easy to change once they were put to a vote of the people. Attitudes about marijuana, however, may be slower to adapt. For this reason, we may continue to see the criminalization of marijuana possession even among those in lawful possession.

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