Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative Makes 2018 Ballot

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative Makes 2018 Ballot

WikiMedia Commons / Okiefromokla / Public Domain

Oklahoma medical marijuana legalization may become a reality in 2018 as a legalization initiative has qualified for the state’s 2018 ballot.

In a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on June 15, 2017, Sec. of State Dave Lopez explained that he had informed the State Election Board that he had certified State Question 788, Initiative Petition 412, the medical marijuana legalization initiative, as it had met the requirements of state law.

The road to getting the Oklahoma medical marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot has been a long one. The initiative petition failed to get enough signatures in 2014 and while the initiative petition earned enough signatures back in August 2016 for the 2016 ballot, the initiative was waylaid by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s ballot title rewrite, which the Supreme Court of Oklahoma shot down on March 27, 2017.

With the ballot title secured, Oklahomans for Health, the non-profit organization behind the initiative, can now move forward with voter outreach.

“We are excited that in 2018 Oklahomans will get an opportunity to vote on our proposed law,” said Chip Paul, a spokesman for Oklahomans for Health. “We are even more excited to begin to educate Oklahomans not only on the value of medical marijuana as a medicine, but also on our very progressive law we are proposing. For instance, in Oklahoma, obtaining a medical certification will be somewhat like obtaining a prescription. A physician will have to sign off on the request similar to a prescription.”

As far as qualifying conditions, the proposed law wouldn’t establish any; instead, recommending medical marijuana to a patient would be up to the discretion of an individual’s physician. “This is purposeful as it forces physicians to become educated about medical cannabis and what it can/cannot treat,” Paul explained. “Further, we have tried our best to set a win tone in our proposed law for a marijuana business climate. We allow partial outside the state ownership in grow, dispense, and process, [plus] we allow unlimited grow sizes.”

While the fate of Oklahoma medical marijuana legalization won’t be decided for more than a year, critical work has to happen leading up to the vote.

Oklahomans for Health will expand its activist board, which formed in 2014 and currently includes Frank Grove, Chip Paul, Cynthia Paul and Bridget Wood.

“Fundraising is always an issue in a statewide campaign, but we have always been able to do a lot for a little. In 2014, we ran the entire statewide petitioning effort on less than $60k and in 2016 it was more like $35k,” Paul said. “We clearly will have to raise way more than we have in the past. However, we are most fortunate to be on the ballot during a Governor’s race and that will add awareness, focus, and interest to our campaign.”

 

*Article updated on June 20, 2017, to correct Oklahomans for Health’s list of board members.

Caroline Cahill was the Managing Editor of MJINews from June 2014 through February 2018. She earned her BA in Communications from College of Charleston and her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. You can follow her on Twitter @CtheresaC.

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