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Local chambers speaking out about measure to legalize medical marijuana

TULSA, Okla. – While voters will head to the polls in a few weeks to determine whether to approve medical marijuana in Oklahoma, a local chamber of commerce is coming out against the measure.

On June 26, Oklahoma voters will head to the polls to vote on State Question 788, which would legalize medical marijuana for some patients.

Under the state question, a person 18 years or older would need to apply for a medical marijuana license with the Oklahoma State Department of Health after receiving a note from their doctor. If approved, the patient would then have to pay $100 to obtain that license.

Supporters work to gather signatures for medical marijuana petition in 2014.

Patients would be allowed to legally possess up to 3 ounces of the drug on them, six mature plants and six seedlings. They could also possess one ounce of concentrated marijuana, 72 ounces of edible marijuana and 8 ounces of marijuana in their home. At this time, there are no qualifying conditions and it would be taxed at 7 percent for all marijuana sales.

Those caught with up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana who “can state a medical condition, but not in possession of a state issued medical marijuana license” could face a misdemeanor charge and a fine not to exceed $400.

Although many patients say medical marijuana have improved their lives, the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce says it is encouraging people to vote against State Question 788.

"State Question 788 is just not the right vehicle to achieve legalization of marijuana for use to treat medical conditions," the chamber says.

"The concern here is that it's wide open, that there's really no restrictions on who gets it," said Roy Williams, with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

There are also concerns about how employers will enforce a drug-free workplace.

"If you were drinking alcohol on the job, you can be dismissed, but taking marijuana with a prescription? You couldn't be, so that's a real concern to employers about their liability," he said.

However, the folks hoping you'll vote yes on the measure say that's not the case.

"Oklahoma is an at-will state; an employer doesn't have to give you any reason to hire or fire," Jed Green, the state director of 'Yes on 788,' said.

As the vote gets closer, Green says there is a lot of misinformation out there.

"The chambers currently speak for a certain group of Oklahoma businesses and for larger business. They do not speak for all businesses. There are number that have come together and are unafraid of this law being passed and ultimately looking at becoming part of that industry," Green said.