A split city council approved rules governing the use of medical marijuana at special events held at three designated city facilities.

The rules passed on Monday limit its use to medical marijuana events held in four locations: the Honor Heights Park Papilion event lawn, the Honor Heights Amphitheater, Hatbox Field, and the Muskogee Civic Center’s south parking lot. The latter location would only be available for events that involve the rental of arenas.

A medical marijuana event is defined as an event that is “open to the public regardless of the entry fee” and conducted “primarily for educational purposes”. To meet this criterion, “at least 70% of the event program” must be devoted to the presentation of scientific, agricultural or pharmacological research, methods, results or uses “.

To be approved as a medical marijuana event, sponsors applying for approval must provide evidence that they expect 50 or more people to attend the event.

Proponents of the regulation, which was amended in November, say providing space for licensed patients to use medicinal cannabis during these events “will improve our opportunities through tourism and economic development”. They said potential sponsors categorically rejected Muskogee as the host site because there were no options to “medicate” on the site.

At least two of the four councilors who voted against the rules made it clear that their opposition was based on their use in city parks or other urban facilities. They expressed their support for all other aspects of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana laws.

“For the past few weeks we’ve been discussing the financial implications of medical marijuana, and that’s coming from our pharmacies,” said Deputy Mayor Derrick Reed, referring to the strong growth in pharmacies in Muskogee. “We have no evidence that any of these conventions will have any economic impact, although we welcome them to come here.”

Ward II city councilor Alex Reynolds previously said the city “only lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the two years … because people can’t smoke in some of our places”. Despite being an outspoken supporter of the measure, he was silent on Monday except to cast a vote for the rules.

City Administrator Mike Miller said the rules approved Monday “limit the scope of activities” that can be permitted on-site under the amended ordinance. They also increase the required clearance between a room designated for use during a medical marijuana event and a city building to 50 feet.

Sponsors must provide event consumption guidelines, programming and promotional materials when applying for permits for an event. The distribution and use of cannabis products during an event must comply with state laws, and sponsors are responsible for monitoring compliance.

Despite the more restrictive language, Ward III Councilor Ivory Vann expressed concern about those who use a cannabis product while attending an event and then drive.

“There’s definitely no way you can take medication and be safe when you’re driving,” said Vann. “If you have this in your system and drive, you will be a danger to others – I will not be conscious of this.”

Vann recognized the medicinal values ​​of marijuana. He said medical marijuana patients should take medication at home.