When some states dip their toe into the legal pot pool, as Georgia did in 2015, they do so with trepidation. Back when the Peach State legalized medical marijuana, residents had to demonstrate one of eight permitted ailments to qualify for a few ounces of cannabis oil which could not even be cultivated within state lines. It was hard to imagine how anyone who even needed it would be able to obtain medicinal weed.
Not so with Oklahoma. Sooner State voters dove right into the deep end, approving a medical marijuana measure so expansive every one and their mother will have a prescription before too long. Here are some of the details.
The most eye-catching part of State Question 788 -- which passed with 57 percent approval from voters -- is the less-than-rigorous standard patients must meet in order to obtain medical marijuana. "The proposed law outlines no qualifying conditions," CBS reports, "which would allow physicians to authorize its use for a broad range of ailments." The measure, as currently written, would also allow patients to possess three ounces of marijuana in public and have up to eight ounces at home. (For those keeping track at home, that public limit is two ounces more than Oklahoma's recreationally-legal neighbor Colorado allows.)
Licensed growers could have six mature plants along with six seedlings, and concentrates and edibles would also be allowed. Additionally, anyone arrested with 1.5 ounces or less would be able to "state a medical condition" and possibly bargain a felony possession charge down to a $400 citation.
The Citizens of the State Have Decided
The new law is quite the about face from a state that just a few years ago was suing Colorado in federal court over its recreational marijuana law. "Question 788 is a tremendous victory for patients and for access to medical cannabis," government affairs director for drug-reform organization Americans for Safe Access David Mangone said in a statement. "We hope we can replicate this success in Utah and Missouri this November when those states will vote on improving their medical cannabis programs."
But, as Mangone noted, the work isn't over yet. The measure will now go to state lawmakers and, ultimately, to Governor Mary Fallin, who was against the new law and said she would ask lawmakers to set up stricter regulatory framework for medicinal pot if it passed. Still, with such broad public approval, some state legislators are expecting a quick passage of the bill, relatively unchanged.
"The citizens of the state have decided that they are in support of this law, so there aren't necessarily any changes that need to be made," Oklahoma House Majority Leader Jon Echols told CBS. "What I would like to see happen is putting together an orderly process for getting your permits to sell it to be a dispensary. Getting your permits to grow it ... We put together some common-sense regulations for what home growth looks like. We're not looking at changing any of the fundamentals."
Given what the current iteration of the new law allows, medical marijuana in Oklahoma will be growing like a ...