Federally Recognized Tribal lands are sovereign nations — with no federal jurisdiction. These new laws would not prohibit the tribes from growth, distribution or dispensing of medicinal marijuana.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma voters approved SQ 788 late Tuesday evening, marking their entry as the 30th state to legalize medicinal marijuana and will allow the growth, sale and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The state question is the result of an initiative petition by Oklahomans for Health, a group formed in 2014.
An initiative petition circulated by Oklahomans for Health that year failed to get sufficient signatures, and two proposed constitutional amendments seeking to change marijuana’s legal status in the state have been withdrawn in recent years.
Early numbers looked strong in Oklahoma, “It’s got a 68,000-vote margin, and you’re telling me that the three urban counties haven’t come in yet where the support is likely stronger?” University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie rhetorically asked shortly after 9 p.m. “This thing is likely to increase. It could be a landslide.”
Gov. Mary Fallin (R), who opposed the measure because she believed it would create a gateway to legal marijuana for recreations use, said she would like to convene a special legislative session to design framework for the law’s implementation, The Associated Press Reported.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford joined a conservative religious organization Thursday in urging defeat of State Question 788.
Oklahoma Faith Leaders, which is headed by a former consultant to Lankford, said the medical marijuana referendum would be “harmful to the social fabric of Oklahoma.”
“This state question is being sold to Oklahomans as a compassionate medical marijuana bill by outside groups that actually want access to recreational marijuana,” Lankford said in a press release. “Most of us have seen first-hand the damage done to families and our communities from recreational marijuana use.”
The Trump’s Administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions rattled the nascent $10 billion cannabis industry when he echoed those statements earlier this year. Medicinal Cannabis is already operating in eight states and Washington D.C.
The Campaign to legalize marijuana succeeded despite little national funding for the effort, Forbes reported, and a significant backlash over the law’s perceived vagueness from law enforcement groups and faith leaders.
The Oklahoma Behavioral Health Association opposed the measure.
A report published in January of 2017 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analyzed more than 10,000 studies to see what could conclusively be said about the health effects of all this marijuana.
In 2015, Oklahoma providers wrote 101.7 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (3.97 million prescriptions). In the same year, the average U.S. rate was 70 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (IMS Health, 2016).
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws released a statement praising the vote, “Public support for medical marijuana access is non-partisan,” NORML deputy director Paul Armentano told Forbes. “Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant marijuana law reforms.”
The measure will allow doctors to recommend cannabis for any medical condition they deem fit and necessary.
Most other state medical marijuana laws delineate a specific list of diseases and disorders for which physicians can authorize patients' participation.
Opposition groups seeking to undermine support for medical marijuana drummed roughly a half a million dollars into television ads.
For months, the polling numbers reflected a near 50/50 split, and received severe criticism in how the ballot language was rewritten and delayed for a vote from major election voting by former Attorney General Scott Pruitt in 2016.
“State Question 788 is not medical. It is strictly a disguise for recreational marijuana," Dr. Larry Bookman, president-elect of the Oklahoma Medical Association said at a recent news conference.
Dr. Bookman said reputable studies have indicated that marijuana may have some medicinal value in the treatment of nausea and pain in cancer patients, spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, and possibly some nausea or seizure disorders.
The progressive move will launch Oklahoma into a potential showdown with the Federal Government as the federal government still deems medicinal forms of marijuana illegal, in certain areas of Oklahoma this would not be the case.
For instance, Federally Recognized Tribal lands are sovereign nations — with no federal jurisdiction. These new laws would not prohibit the tribes from growth, distribution or dispensing of medicinal marijuana.
“Many tribes have remained silent on the matter, but we are all watching Oklahoma to see what they do. What happens there will affect the other 547 Federally recognized tribes whose states legalized cannabis production and consumption,” said esteemed Coyete Valley tribal member Priscilla Hunter at April’s National Indian Gaming Conference held in Las Vegas.
Nationally, polling showed more than 90 percent of voters support medical cannabis, with roughly two-thirds backing recreational marijuana legalization.
“Public support for medical marijuana access is non-partisan,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a statement. “Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant marijuana law reforms.”
Under the provisions of the new law as drafted, Oklahoma patients will receive state ID cards and be allowed to possess three ounces of Cannabis in public, and store up to eight ounces at home.
A six mixture plant and six seedlings are allowed for home cultivation, as is possession of up to once ounce of Cannabis concentrates and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused edible products.
Patients can also designate a caregiver to purchase or grow medicine for them.
People who are caught with 1.5 ounces or less of marijuana and can "state a medical condition" would face a misdemeanor offense punishable by no more than a $400 fine.