In a 5-4 vote, Muskogee City Council approved the creation of rules governing the use of medical cannabis in tents during industry-related events – even if it is done on city-administered land – provided organizers can demonstrate it is in is primarily about educational measures.

Under the new policy, medical cannabis can be smoked or vaped on the city’s property during what the city calls a “medical marijuana event” – or as a public event with the expectation that at least 50 people have a valid license for medical cannabis will compete.

The host must also demonstrate, in accordance with a copy of the proposed rules, that at least 70% of the programming is related to scientific, agricultural or pharmacological research, method, knowledge or uses.

The rules do not allow the use of tobacco or cannabis in city buildings or on city lots within a 50-foot radius. However, they set parameters for cannabis use in fully enclosed tents or similar structures on the city’s property, although only a few places in Muskogee consider such events.

City councils passed an amendment to the law in November, which went into effect January 30, providing for exemptions from smoking and steaming bans on city property during medical cannabis events. The ordinance, sponsored by Councilor Traci McGee, promoted the exemption as a way to create tourism and economic development in Muskogee.

“I know this will pass,” Councilor Ivory Vann said Monday of the vote, in which Mayor Marlon Coleman said the groundbreaking “yes”. “But I want the record to show … that I did everything I could,” to speak out against it, he said, adding that he believes the smell of cannabis in the air will be a nuisance “No matter what someone tells you.” “Vann was also an opponent of the regulation change.

The debate on the proposal was brief during Monday’s city council meeting, lasting less than half an hour. However, a summary of the rules presented shows that the city’s parks and recreation authority recently revised their proposals based on community feedback.

The Muskogee Phoenix quoted Ward II councilor Alex Reynolds as saying the city has lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in potential revenue because cannabis bans within city limits mean vendors are holding their major events elsewhere. The amendment to the ordinance notes that the city has several outdoor venues that could be reserved for a fee, which in theory supports the city’s corporate fund, and therefore Muskogee’s economic stability.

“To promote this purpose, events are held in outdoor locations owned or operated by the city, rented or reserved for a fee, or that the city determines that its sponsorship is promoting economic development of the Smoking and steam restrictions on exempt medical marijuana from licensees, “the amendment said.

Vann argued that the proposal sends a bad message about the behavior of Muskogee residents and will in reality encourage recreational cannabis use only in hopes of generating a hypothetical economic boost. He also questioned the feasibility of enforcing drug laws, suggesting that participants could pose a threat if leaving events while under the influence of drugs.

However, it did not provide statistics or other data on the frequency of such behaviors among medical cannabis users.

Councilor Derrick Reed, who also voted no, questioned the purpose of the policy, saying he had not heard of any recent interest in such an event for city property. He said the benefits of cannabis for the city came from pharmacies and other local businesses.

Reed said Monday he was aware of the medicinal benefits those who use cannabis have experienced. Even so, he claimed the proposal went too far to advertise the city’s friendliness to the legal cannabis industry.

The event requests for guidelines approved on Monday will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Other approved rules include: The host and providers must have proper government licensing and documentation with the City of Muskogee. Security on site must be guaranteed; Participants must be at least 18 years old. and cannabis use for non-medical purposes is prohibited.

Hosts are also required to submit a proposed event program guide of courses, lectures, or seminars, as well as an event consumption guideline that will be clearly communicated to attendees.