Oklahoma voters on Tuesday backed the medicinal use of marijuana, overcoming a late opposition campaign from law enforcement and business, faith and political leaders.
State Question 788, the result of an activist-led signature drive launched more than two years ago, makes it legal to grow, sell and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. The proposed law outlines no qualifying conditions, which would allow physicians to authorize its use for a broad range of ailments — a fact that sparked bitter opposition, particularly from law enforcement.
Under the proposed law, a two-year medical marijuana license would allow someone to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana, six mature plants and six seedlings, along with edibles and concentrated forms of the drug.
Gov. Mary Fallin said she feared the proposal would essentially legalize recreational pot and said if it passed she would likely call on lawmakers to return for a special session to set up a regulatory framework for medicinal pot.
Oklahoma’s is the first marijuana question on a state ballot in 2018, with elections scheduled for later this year in Michigan and Utah. Voters in neighboring Arkansas legalized the drug for medical use in 2016, but Oklahoma is among the most conservative states to approve its use.
In Oklahoma City, Robert Pemberton, 58, said he supported the measure because he believed it’s been beneficial in other states that have legalized medical marijuana.
“They’ve got excess money, and we need that, especially for our teachers,” Pemberton said. “I think we need the revenue from it. I think we need the money. Our state’s in trouble financially and I think it would really help.”