The state with the country’s harshest marijuana laws can become the 30th to legalize medical cannabis on June 26 when Oklahoma voters go to the polls to decide on State Question 788.
The measure would allow licensed patients and/or caregivers (18 years old or older) to grow up to 12 plants and create a commercial market with dispensaries, cultivators, processors and testing labs. To apply for the latter licenses, you’ll have to be 25 years old. Read the text of SQ 788 here.
Currently in Oklahoma, possession of any amount of flower, hash, concentrates or paraphernalia are misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Sale or distribution are felonies, punishable by a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $500,000 fine for flower and $50,000 for concentrates. See NORML’s guide to Oklahoma Laws & Penalties here.
YES ON 788 organizer WILLIAM JONES: “State Question 788 was designed to make Oklahoma the most patient-oriented and business friendly state for the medical marijuana industry.”
Predictably, Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford opposes the measure: “If you read it, it’s a recreational marijuana bill. It’s very clear the way it’s written, to allow people to have access to it, in quantities they can grow, they can store, they can have, and it’s very open on how you get a prescription and what it can be for. So, it’s most definitely an opening toward recreational marijuana. I do not think the best thing that we can do for our kids is to get their parents and grandparents to smoke more marijuana. I have yet to see a single employer come to me and say, ‘You know what I really need? I need more employees at lunch smoking marijuana before they come back for the afternoon. That’s what I really need more of in my workplace.’”
Ludicrous arguments like Lankford’s and similar ones by Governor Mary Fallin are primarily what the Yes on 788 organization is up against. Yes on 788 organizer William Jones counters: “State Question 788 was designed to make Oklahoma the most patient-oriented and business friendly state for the medical marijuana industry. SQ 788 will create jobs, sorely needed tax revenue, and possess a number of patient protections that simply don’t exist in other states with similar laws.”
According to Ballotpedia, as of June 17, Yes on 788 and Oklahomans had raised $31,630 and spent $167,368 contrasted with Oklahomans Against 788 raising $766 while spending $815,633
Two days earlier it was revealed the SQ 788 Is Not Medical PAC has committed $443,000 to commercials opposed to 788 as well as $10,000 for social media and $47, 563 for yard signs.
Polling shows support among voters for SQ 788 is 57%.
Oklahoma resident and web developer for the Marijuana Policy Project, Garret Overstreet, is excited about the possibility of a victory on Tuesday: “Oklahoma finally has a chance to do what over half the country has done before in providing effective relief for suffering patients and veterans, raising important tax revenue to help with the state budget’s shortfall and creating jobs in one of the fastest growing industries. Vote Yes on 788!”