Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford has urged voters in his state to reject medical marijuana, saying it would be “harmful” to families. Lankford, along with a conservative religious group, released a statement calling for a vote against State Question 788 (SQ 788). Oklahomans will vote on the measure to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis in the June 26 election.
Lankford and the group Oklahoma Faith Leaders released the joint statement on Thursday. In it, they claim that legalizing marijuana would be “harmful to the social fabric of Oklahoma.” Lankford also said he was unwilling to believe that medical cannabis could improve a patient’s quality of life.
“No one will convince me that our families will be better if only more parents and grandparents smoke more marijuana,” he said.
The senator then asserted that SQ 788 is actually a ploy by outsiders to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
“This state question is being sold to Oklahomans as a compassionate medical marijuana bill by outside groups that actually want access to recreational marijuana,” Lankford said.
Lankford also claimed that a majority of Oklahomans have witnessed harm caused by cannabis.
“Most of us have seen first-hand the damage done to families and our communities from recreational marijuana use,” he said.
Sooners Vote on Medical Marijuana June 26
Oklahomans will decide the fate of SQ 788 at the statewide election on June 26. 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.
Patients will pay a tax of seven percent in addition to normal state and local sales taxes on medical marijuana. The state will use the tax to fund its cannabis regulatory activities. Any excess revenue will be fund education and drug and alcohol rehab programs.
Supporters Plan Yes on SQ 788 Rally
To rally support for SQ 788 and get out the vote, Oklahomans for Health and other sponsors will hold a rally on June 9 in Tulsa. Activists will gather at the Fuel 66 at 2439 E. 11th Street from 1-4 p.m. for food, entertainment, and education. The group is also urging voters to confirm their registration online. Registration for the June 26 election closes June 1.
Voters in Oklahoma might also get the chance to legalize cannabis for adult use. Earlier this month, activist group Green the Vote began collecting signatures in an effort to qualify State Question 797 for the ballot. That measure would approve a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.