The wait for a vote on medical cannabis legalization is almost over in Oklahoma.
Voters in Oklahoma will decide next month on an initiative (Question 788) that would legalize cannabis for medical use and create a regulated medical cannabis industry in the state.
The initiative almost ended up on the 2016 ballot but was delayed due to a legal dispute.
Earlier this year Oklahoma’s Governor decided to place the initiative on the primary election ballot (June 26) instead of on the ballot for the general election
Voter turnout tends to be much lower for primary election votes compared to general elections, which could affect the outcome of the initiative.
What would happen if the initiative passes?
Oklahoma State Question 788 would do the following if approved:
- Create a medical cannabis program in Oklahoma
- Allow patients to qualify to possess, consume, and cultivate cannabis
- Create a regulated medical cannabis industry
- Allow physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients at their discretion
The provision allowing physicians to recommend medical cannabis at their own discretion would be very significant.
Whereas most other states have a narrow list of qualifying conditions, Oklahoma’s model would be wide open from a qualifying condition standpoint.
What are Oklahoma’s current cannabis laws?
Currently in Oklahoma possession of any amount of cannabis for personal use is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Distributing any amount of cannabis in Oklahoma is punishable by up to a life sentence in prison and a $20,000-$500,000 fine.
Whether an amount of cannabis is considered to be intended for distribution or not is up to the arresting officer’s prosecutorial discretion, which is a policy that has a high potential for abuse.
Cultivation can either be treated as possession or intent to distribute. It’s up to the arresting officer.
Any conviction for cannabis in Oklahoma results in the offender having their license suspended for at least 6 months but up to 3 years.
What are the chances of the initiative passing, and how can people help it succeed?
A poll from January found over 61% support for the initiative. Less than 31% of poll participants opposed the initiative with the remainder being undecided.
Polling may be favorable, but that does not guarantee that the initiative will succeed. Medical cannabis advocates need to do everything they can to ensure that the initiative passes.
June 1 is the last day that people can register to vote in the Oklahoma primary election. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so immediately.
Encourage everyone else that you know in Oklahoma to register to vote and to vote ‘yes’ on 788.
Sign up to learn more about the initiative and stay in the loop. Make sure to share campaign alerts with other voters. In doing so you will help make medical cannabis a reality in Oklahoma!