On Tuesday, June 25, Oklahoma became the 30th state in the US to legalize medical marijuana.
Where Oklahoma and Nebraska were suing Colorado just four years ago, now Oklahoma voters have approved the most progressive medical marijuana laws in the country. The initiative, known as Question 788, will allow medical marijuana to be prescribed for any conditions doctors deem appropriate.
What Will Medical Marijuana Look Like in Oklahoma?
Each medical marijuana state in the country has its own specific list of qualifying medical conditions. The most common conditions cannabis is prescribed throughout the country include: cancer, epilepsy and seizures, chronic pain, nausea, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and PTSD. Some states permit more conditions than others, while some are extremely selective. Texas, for example, has only approved medical marijuana for one condition: intractable epilepsy.
Oklahoma, however, is doing things a little bit different. Doctors in Oklahoma will be able to recommend medical cannabis for any condition. Oklahomans for Health is the cannabis advocacy group responsible for the initiative, and chairman Chip Paul says its passing is an undeniable victory for patients across the state.
“With the passage of SQ788,” says Paul, “Oklahomans have passed perhaps the most unique medical marijuana law in the nation. With no qualifying conditions, the law will put accountability squarely in the hands of physicians and under the same state regulatory controls as prescription medications. We are pleased that Oklahomans have seen our vision and have adopted the state question into law.”
Passed with a 57 percent approval, Question 788 will allow medical marijuana patients in Oklahoma to possess eight ounces of medical marijuana at home and three ounces of medical marijuana in public, two ounces more than Colorado’s legal limit. Oklahoma MMJ patients will also be permitted to grow up to 12 plants. Another part of the bill will reduce penalties for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana for any person with a medical condition, regardless if they have a medical license or not.
Oklahoma Has Been Long-Known for Some of the Strictest Cannabis Laws in the Country
Recreational weed laws in Oklahoma have long been considered some of the harshest in the country, where possession of any amount of herb can get you up to a year and jail and cost you $1,000. There are horror stories of people who have received extremely strict sentences for weed in Oklahoma.
Rheumatoid arthritis patient Will Foster was sentenced to 93 years in prison for cannabis cultivation, which was later reduced to 20 years. After parole, Foster relocated to California and became a licensed medical marijuana patient. Soon after, Oklahoma extradited Foster back and sentenced him to addition time in prison.
Then there is the infamous case of Patricia Spottedcow, the 25-year-old mother of four who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling less than $40 worth of cannabis to an undercover cop. Or that of paraplegic Jimmy Montgomery, who received life in prison when two ounces of weed was discovered in his wheelchair. While his sentence was later reduced to 10 years, he lost a leg due to medical complications while he was in prison.
It’s no surprise that several are shocked that Oklahoma has just passed what many are calling the most progressive medical marijuana laws in the country. The passing of Question 788 represents a major shift in the changing tide of medical marijuana laws in the country.
Application information will be accessible to patients by July 26, and applications will begin to be accepted by August 25.