In a modern day David and Goliath tale befitting The Bible Belt, the citizens and patients of Oklahoma have spent the last four years fighting for a chance to put medical marijuana on the ballot. Last summer, despite the grueling heat and interference in the petition process by the police, the Governor and the ex-Attorney General, Oklahomans For Health, the nonprofit organization spearheading the effort to change Oklahoma’s Draconian marijuana laws, succeeded in gathering the necessary number of signatures to put State Question 788 on the November 2018 ballot.
State Question 788, however, isn’t a typical medical marijuana law. NORML has called it “the most progressive proposed medical marijuana law” and “an example of what other states’ medical marijuana laws should look like.” SQ788 would be the first medical marijuana law in the nation that has no qualifying conditions for patients, and no limit on the number of plants a commercial grower can produce. Oklahomans For Health designed the bill specifically to make this medicine accessible to patients with rare diseases (who usually fall outside of other state qualifications), and to make the friendliest business environment possible for the cannabis industry. If passed, it could make Oklahoma a cannabis grower’s paradise.
This all comes as perceptions of marijuana are drastically changing. In 2013, a poll conducted by SoonerPoll, Oklahoma’s only independent, nonpartisan pollster, found that 71 percent of those surveyed approved of the legalization of medical marijuana. Oklahomans For Health discovered this firsthand when we contributed to record-breaking new voter registration in both our major metropolitan areas during our petition drive. People have seen the higher quality of life enjoyed by patients in neighboring states and they want to have the same medical options. Oklahomans are also excited about provisions within the law that would allow 75 percent of excess tax revenue collected by the state to go towards education, and the remaining 25 percent towards substance abuse and rehabilitation programs.