A pro-cannabis group is asking Oklahomans to consider how Jesus would vote for the state’s medical marijuana initiative when they cast their ballot. Voters will decide the fate of State Question 788 (SQ 788) in today’s statewide election. If passed, it will allow patients to use medicinal cannabis and create a legal supply chain for the state.
The group campaigning for the measure, Yes on 788, is using Bible verses to support its cause. Yes on 788 released a campaign flyer that asked: “How would Jesus Vote?” The campaign release also quoted two scripture passages to support the group’s argument for legalization. The first biblical quotation is from Genesis 1:29.
“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food,” the flyer reads.
The second verse cited by Yes on 788 is from Exodus 20:16—”You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” That passage was alongside a picture of U.S. Senator James Lankford, who opposes the initiative.
Lankford, a former Baptist pastor, called the interpretation of the Bible “bizarre” and “ironic,” according to local media.
“That is certainly not the intent of Genesis Chapter 1,” he said. “For someone to say Christians should believe marijuana should be good because the Bible says all plants are good is a big stretch from it.”
Lankford also said that he took offense to Yes on 788 bringing his faith into the discussion over the initiative.
“They have one vote. I have one vote,” he said. “But I think I should be able to speak out on those issues without being personally attacked, especially for an issue of my faith.”
However, only weeks ago, Lankford joined the group Oklahoma Faith Leaders to oppose Question 788. Lankford and the conservative religious group said medical marijuana would be “harmful to the social fabric of Oklahoma.”
Lankford has said that believes SQ 788 is actually a ploy to bring recreational marijuana to Oklahoma and not a sincere effort to allow patients access to medicinal cannabis.
Voters Answering Question 788 Today
Oklahomans are voting on SQ 788 at the statewide election today. The measure qualified for the ballot after the group Oklahomans for Health collected nearly 66,000 signatures in 2016. If the initiative passes, it would legalize the possession, use, and production of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Patients wishing to use medical marijuana would need a recommendation from a doctor and a state-issued license. Licenses for patients would cost $100, although some would qualify for a reduced fee of $25. Licenses would have to be renewed every two years. Licensed patients could legally possess up to three ounces of cannabis on their person and eight ounces at home. Patients would also be allowed to cultivate cannabis plants at home.
SQ 788 would also create a regulated supply chain for medicinal cannabis. Oklahoma residents could then apply for a license to grow or process marijuana or to operate a dispensary. Applicants for a business license would pay a fee of $2,500.