After the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma in June 2018, the activists are now aiming toward gathering enough votes to decriminalize the drug’s recreational use. Green the Vote, an organization that aims to get marijuana legalized in the state, is supporting two state questions – 796 and 797. A notice for the approval of both the questions was filed on April 3 with the Oklahoma secretary of state.
As per the petition, if State Question 796 is approved, it would classify marijuana as a “herbal drug” in the Oklahoma Constitution and would be regulated by the proposed Oklahoma Cannabis Commission. It would also allow patients suffering from severe conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, migraines, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder to use it. In case someone is diagnosed with any other condition, he/she would need recommendation from two different doctors to use it.
The approval of State Question 797 would permit adults who are 21 years or older to consume or possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana for personal use. Additionally, the first $40 million collected from the drug sales would be utilized for the public school capital construction assistance fund. Both the questions to be approved would permit its users to exchange or transfer up to an ounce for medical use to another medically licensed person or another adult for recreational use who is at least 21 years of age.
The Head of “Green the Vote,” Tulsan Isaac Caviness, said that both these questions are viewed as an insurance policy for State Question 788, a referendum that was passed by the state on June 26, 2018. According to it, a registered patient is allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana at any place and up to 8 ounces at his/her residence. The person is also allowed to grow up to six mature and six immature plants, or designate caregivers who would do the required job for them. The approval of this petition has made Oklahoma the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana use in the United States.
OSDH meet to discuss approval of emergency rules
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is monitoring the execution of 788 for which it has also created the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA). The OSDH officials have agreed to meet on July 10 to discuss the approval of emergency rules related to the licensing for patients, growers, processors, transporters and dispensaries. It is important to know that the implementation of every new petition would require a collection of around 124,000 signatures by August 8 so that it may be presented in the November ballot for a proposed constitutional amendment.
As per Caviness, in the past five years, he has seen a significant shift in the attitude of common masses regarding marijuana legalization. The Oklahomans do not like to spend their tax money in putting people behind the bars rather than spreading education about drug use.
Marijuana continues to be abused
The legalization of marijuana in multiple states across the U.S. has also led to a rise in its abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 51.80 percent of individuals in the age group of 18 to 25 years abuse marijuana throughout their life. This is probably because of its easy availability, ability to generate quick high or other environmental factors. It is, therefore, important to spread awareness about the dangers associated with its use and the ways it can damage one’s health.
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