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Group pushes for Oklahomans to decide if Mary Jane should be legalized

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On April 11, 2014, Oklahomans for Health will submit an application for petition with Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office, which would let voters decide whether medical marijuana should be legalized in the Sooner State.

The activist group’s mission is to educate Oklahoma residents on the benefits of medical marijuana and to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana treatment options for patients who suffer from serious medical conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

“Many patients who suffer from painful conditions are prescribed pharmaceutical drugs that are highly addictive and have serious side effects,” said Oklahomans for Health Chairman Chip Paul. “We believe physicians, not the government, should have the ability to determine whether medical marijuana would benefit people who have serious illnesses.”

Oklahomans for Health is lobbying for a law that would allow for marijuana to be grown, dispensed and consumed for medical purposes only, which the Oklahoma State Department of Health would strictly regulate.

“We do not want to see a free-for-all. There would be vigilant oversight for each step of the process. Patients would have to apply for medical cards from the Department of Health and dispensaries must be licensed and able to provide an accurate inventory at all times,” added Paul.

To obtain a medical marijuana card, the initiative proposes that patients be legal Oklahoma residents and pay a $125 application fee. In addition, an Oklahoma Board certified physician must sign off on the cards before they can be used.

To become a licensed dispensary, Oklahomans for Health proposes applicants be Oklahoma residents who are at least 25 years old with the ability to invest at least $100,000 into the business without securing a loan. Dispensary applicants would be required to pay a $2,500 application fee.

If Oklahoma’s Secretary of State and Attorney General sign off on the petition, Oklahomans for Health has 90 days to gather 190,000 signatures. Once the signatures are verified, a medical marijuana state question would be placed on the November 4, 2014, general election ballot.

The move comes on the heels of a poll where 70% of Oklahoma residents said they would support a law allowing medical marijuana use.

Oklahomans for Health estimates lobbying and public outreach efforts will cost about $2-million. “This is a challenging process, and we need financial support to make this initiative a reality,” said Paul. For this reason, Oklahomans for Health is conducting an outreach campaign meant to generate funding for the cause.

Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws.

“These states have not experienced increases in crime or corruption. Medical marijuana laws are working, and the people of Oklahoma are smart enough to decide whether patients and doctors should have the right to prescribe marijuana,” added Paul.