The deeply conservative state of Oklahoma overwhelmingly voted to legalize medical marijuana in a far-reaching bill that is much more lenient than most in the country. The state becomes the 30th to legalize the plant for medical purposes for those with a doctor’s recommendation. Oklahoma residents voted 57% to 43% to legalize medical marijuana despite there being no excessive funding from big national drug policy reform groups which is usually the case when a measure like this passes. On top of this, the measure faced opposition that was spending approximately half a million dollars in television advertising designed to stop the bill from passing.
No Qualifying Conditions Stipulated
Nonetheless, residents passed a bill that will now allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to any patient they think would be helped by the plant. Most states usually have a list of qualifying conditions that allow patients to access medical cannabis. Oklahoma voted to leave it in the hands of doctors.
Relaxed Possession Laws
The laws for possession are much more lenient too. Patients would need a medical marijuana ID card which would allow them to possess up to eight ounces of the plant at home and carry up to three ounces on their person. Patients with an ID card will be able to possess up to one ounce of cannabis concentrates and 72 ounces of marijuana infused edibles. Patients will now be able to grow up to 12 plants at home, 6 mature ones and 6 seedlings. There is no restriction placed on smoking the plant unlike some other states and there will be reduced penalties for anyone possessing up to 1.5 ounces of the plant so long as they have a medical reason, even without a doctor’s recommendation. They now would only be faced with a $400 fine.
A Republican Majority Vote
While it was Republican led opposition against the bill along with vocal concerns from Governor Mary Fallin, the measure actually won over the majority Republican electorate. “Public support for medical marijuana access is non-partisan,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a statement. “Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant marijuana law reforms.”
Fallin will be looking at ways to tighten and regulate the law but this still counts as a major win for marijuana reform. 30 states now have medical marijuana, and as of July 1, there will be 9 states that have legalized recreational marijuana. The entire west coast and north east Canadian border has legalized the plant for personal use. U.S. neighbor Canada has also decided to legalize the plant for recreational use on a federal level.
The most recent polls indicate that over 90 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes and approximately two thirds of the country is ready to legalize the plant for personal use. This strong public will towards ending prohibition has been heard by legal representatives across the country as more bills are written to enable marijuana reform to occur. For now, Oklahoma residents will have access to the plant and its many medicinal benefits.