Medical Marijuana: Not Even On The Ballot In Oklahoma

While the federal government appears to be loosening up on medicinal marijuana, not all states are following suit. Oklahoma is one of the most conservative states in America, and no group has even been able to gather enough signatures to get medical marijuana on the ballot. The most recent attempt to get medical marijuana up for a vote in the Sooner State was made by Green the Vote.

As noted by Tulsa World, a similar attempt get medical cannabis up for a vote was made last year by Oklahomans for Health.

To get the issue on the ballot in Oklahoma, a petition with 123,725 signatures was needed to have been presented to the office of the Oklahoma Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. yesterday. As the Times Record reported, the group’s president acknowledged that they were more that 50,000 signature short. The exact number has not yet been reported by the Secretary’s office. Despite having a deadline of 5:00, Green the Vote hoped to submit all of the required signatures at 4:20, a reference to April 20 (4/20), an unofficial marijuana holiday.

When the Oklahomans for Health gathered signatures in 2014, it was met with similar results. They plan to regroup and start a new signature-gathering campaign in February of 2016. So as to not confuse supporters of the issue, Green the Vote will likely hold off on their next petition until 2017. Isaac Caviness, president of Green the Vote, explained this on Wednesday after it was clear they fell far short of their goal.

“We would like to be able to do it in 2016, but there’s another legalization group — the one that ran the petition last year — that has announced that they will be running one next spring. So, to avoid confusion between the petitions, our next drive of Green the Vote would have to fall probably in 2017.”

While one might think that the two groups could simply combine their efforts, there are some details they disagree about. Like almost any other political issue, those involved have very specific ideas about the way legislation should be. Two groups, both advocating for medicinal marijuana in the state of Oklahoma. Two groups, who individually had their own problems getting the required number of signatures.

The only real difference between the two groups is their opinions on exactly how many plants someone with medicinal marijuana should be allowed to cultivate in order to receive the desired medicinal effects of the cannabis oil derived from said plants.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma has already started taking baby steps towards introducing medical marijuana to their residents with a prescription. In May of this year, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, passed legislation for a medicinal cannabis pilot program. Drawn up specifically in an effort to help children with seizure disorders, the program allows medicinal cannabis oil — a non-intoxicating component of the marijuana plant — to be used on qualifying patients. As the Bill states, the pilot applies to a very select group.

“…persons eighteen (18) years of age or younger… who have received a written certification from a physician licensed in this state that the person has been diagnosed by a physician as having Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy, or any other severe form of epilepsy that is not adequately treated by… traditional medical therapies.”

Currently in the U.S., 23 states and the District of Columbia allow medicinal marijuana in one form or another. The states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and the District of Columbia have also legalized the use of recreational pot.

[Image credit Uriel Sinai/Getty Images]