At midnight on Saturday May 14th, a group known as Oklahomans for Health launched their efforts to legalize medical marijuana in the state. They started off in Tulsa immediately with their petition, as they only have 90 days to collect the needed 66,000 valid signatures for their initiative to be approved for the November 2016 ballot. Last year they did not collect enough petitions to be eligible – so this year, there will be a lot more effort to gather a total of 86,000 signatures before the 90 day timeframe is up.
The initiative would legalize medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation – however, unlike most states they will not have a list of qualifying conditions. If your physician believes that you would benefit from medical marijuana then you will be able to have access. The reasoning behind this is to help those with conditions that are not commonly recognized as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana such as autism and PTSD, which are only being somewhat accepted more recently.
If passed into law, the initiative would also not require capital requirements for licenses, rather it would require a registration fee. This would leave the industry open to people at all different levels and open opportunities for job growth and stability in the state. There is also a privacy provision that would protect medical marijuana cardholders’ and caregivers’ identities.
They would also allow for home growing, under the pretense that medicine should always be affordable and easy to access. There will be no limit on the number of plants that license holders may grow either, which is beneficial for families with more than one person medicating with marijuana on a regular basis.
Parents, patients and activists will spend the next three months heading to larger cities where they will be able to gather hundreds, even thousands of petition signatures at a time. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but when they started petitioning last time no one knew who Oklahomans for Health were – now they’ve gained exposure and brought the issue to light and more people are on board.
“Nothing will make you work harder at legalizing medical cannabis than holding a child in your arms that is actually seizing, and that will change everything for you,” said Bridget Wood, a member of the group’s board of directors.
Along with trying to get medical marijuana on the petition, the same group is also circulating a second petition – one that would allow future initiatives a full year to collect petitions, rather than a mere 90 day window. Both initiatives need the same number of signatures in order to be considered by voters this fall. It’s a short amount of time to collect a lot of signatures, but the group is extremely confident in their abilities, so let’s hope we see medical marijuana on Oklahoma’s ballot this November.