On June 26, 2018, the state of Oklahoma will vote on State Question 788. This could be one of the most important State Questions in modern Oklahoma history.
For anybody that doesn’t know, State Question 788 is the Medical Marijuana Legislation initiative. A vote yes, would support the measure to legalize the licensed cultivation, use and possession of cannabis for medicinal purposes. A vote no, would oppose the same measure.
Let’s go into a little bit deeper depth of what this measure would do if it was, in fact voted into law. While it would legalize the medical use of cannabis, a person couldn’t just walk into their doctor’s office and get a prescription.
You would first need to obtain a state issued medical marijuana license. To get one, you would first need a board-certified physician’s signature.
A license would cost 100 dollars and it would last a total of two years. A person under the age of 18 would need the signatures of two physicians instead of just one and approval from his or her parents or guardians.
There would be no specific qualifying conditions to be able to get a license. A person who gets a license would be able to possess up to three ounces of cannabis on their selves and up to eight ounces in their home.
A seven percent tax would be placed on all cannabis sales. The revenue that would be collected from this tax would first go towards covering regulatory costs. Any surplus from the tax would be split between education and the Oklahoma State Department of Health for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
However, it wouldn’t be an even split. 75 percent of the surplus would go towards education and the remaining 25 percent would go to the Department of Health.
For those wondering if employers would be able to penalize you, if you have a medicinal marijuana card, you don’t have to worry. The initiative would forbid employers, landlords and schools from doing so. Employers would only be able to take action against you, if you possess or use cannabis while on the job.
Now that we know the specifics of the state question, let’s discuss why this is in the best interest for Oklahoma.
This initiative will not only bring in much needed revenue for the state, but it’s also patient oriented. Cannabis can be used to treat way more conditions than just glaucoma and cancer.
It’s absurd to think that people suffering from chronic pain, among other conditions, are being prescribed opioids that are highly addictive and dangerous, when they could be using a medication that’s not physically addictive and hasn’t killed anybody in recorded history.
Now let’s take in to account that Oklahoma lawmakers as well as its citizens are currently facing a 611-million-dollar budget hole. I can only imagine how much money is being spent by the State policing, litigating and incarcerating its own citizens for a drug that could be used for such good.
If this initiative passes, that money will be freed up. Combine that money with the money that will be collected through the seven percent tax and I think that budget hole will lessen over time. Whether through in person conversation, or through social media I constantly see Oklahomans brag about how they are always for individual freedoms and how big government shouldn’t infringed upon those rights.
Why shouldn’t the ability to use cannabis be one of those rights? A person using cannabis in their own home has never affected anyone but the person using it. Why should the government continue to try to prosecute individuals for doing something that makes them happy, while at the same time, not hurting anyone else?
Oklahoma is also facing a problem with the overcrowding of prisons. fifty percent of the prison population are individuals doing time for non-violent drug offenses. If this state question passes on June 26, then I believe those serving time for non-violent drug offenses should be pardoned.
Not only will this help solve the problem of overpopulation, but that would free up YOUR tax dollars that are used to house them. Then that money can be used on stuff that we desperately need, like better education and to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure.
I’ve read the arguments being pushed on the “Vote NO OK788” Facebook page and they simply don’t make sense. They claim this isn’t about medicine, but for a full-blown legalization of cannabis. That simply isn’t the case. As I mentioned above, in order to obtain a medical marijuana card, you have to go through a board-certified physician.
They claim that this bill makes it so if a person has a medicall card, a potential employer won’t be able to drug test them. Again, that isn’t the case at all. They will still be able to drug test them, they just won’t be able to discriminant against a cannabis user if they have a license to use it.
It’s just like now, if a person has a prescription for opioids or any anti-anxiety medicine, an employer is still able to drug test them.
In January 2018, a poll was conducted by “Sooner Poll” and found that 44.6 percent of those asked, strongly supported the initiative and 17.2 percent somewhat supported it.
While around 31 percent of those that were asked, either somewhat opposed or completely opposed the initiative.
Whether you support or oppose state question 788, please register and get out and vote on the 26th. Every vote matters, let your voice be heard.